Canadian gold miner Semafo will not resume operations at its Boungou mine in Burkina Faso until security in the area is assured following last week’s deadly ambush on a road to the site, the company said.
At least 39 people were killed in the attack on the Semafo convoy, the latest high-profile action in a country plagued by jihadist violence.
A total of 241 employees, contractors and suppliers were caught up in the attack, which wounded 60 with one person still unaccounted for in addition to those killed, Semafo said.
The company suspended operations after the attack, 40 km from Boungou. The mine was forecast to produce up to 240 000 ounces of gold this year.
“The unprecedented scale and nature of the attack made basic administration and logistics difficult,” the company said.
“It will take some time to evaluate the new operating environment and assess how we will be able to operate in a safe and secure manner in Burkina Faso. Until then Boungou operations will be suspended.”
Over the weekend, the company started transporting people by helicopter from the mine site, it said. The mine is in Burkina Faso’s Eastern region 355 km from the capital Ouagadougou.
Burkina Faso is struggling to combat Islamist violence in its remote eastern and northern scrublands. A home-grown, three-year insurgency spread over parts of the country, amplified by spill-over from Mali.
It is not known which group the perpetrators of last week’s attack belonged too. Witnesses said some attackers shouted Islamic phrases.