Mali's Gold Income Seen $241m in 2009 - Premier

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"In 2008, gold contributed 100-billion CFA francs to the budget, accounting for more than 15% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 70% of export earnings."

Mali, one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest gold producers, will earn the equivalent of more than $240-million from the precious metal this year, its prime minister said on Monday, representing a 20% increase on 2008.

"Its part of the national budget is estimated at 120-billion CFA francs in 2009," Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe said at the opening of a resources conference.

In 2008, gold contributed 100-billion CFA francs to the budget, accounting for more than 15% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 70% of export earnings, mines minister Mamadou Diarra said.

Revenue is expected to rise despite a decline in the amount of metal produced. Earlier this month, the mines ministry forecast 2009 output would be 46 t, down 13% on last year, as mines approach the end of their productive lives.

Mali, which is applying to join international anti-corruption scheme the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), said last year it would set up a special account for gold revenues in a effort to improve transparency.

The EITI's national chief for Mali has said the group would publish its first report on the country early this year.

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