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Burkina awards gold mine permit to Russian firm

Military-ruled Burkina Faso has awarded an exploration permit for a new gold mine to Russian firm Nordgold, the government said Thursday.

The four-year permit at the Yimiougou site in the centre-north of the country will allow total production of an estimated 2.5 tonnes of gold, the government said.

The output will at the mine will bring in 5.3 billion CFA francs ($8.5 million) for the government budget and 648 million CFA francs to the local mining development fund.

Nordgold already exploits three gold mines through two local subsidiaries in northern Burkina Faso, a region beset by jihadist violence since 2015.

The Russian firm shut down the Taparko mine for security reasons in April.

Gold is Burkina Faso’s top export ahead of cotton.

Russia is gaining popular support among French-speaking African nations while former colonial power France is vilified.

Pro-Russia protests have been held in Burkina Faso since a military coup took place on September 30.