Mali Names New Mines Minister

Source:

"Abou Bakar Traore, a former finance minister, was appointed head of a new ministry dedicated only to mining."

Mali, one of sub-Saharan Africa's biggest gold producers, has named a new mines minister as it accords increasing importance to exploitation of its natural resources, the government said.

Abou Bakar Traore, a former finance minister, was appointed head of a new ministry dedicated only to mining. Energy and water, previously part of the mines minister's portfolio, will be overseen by Mamadou Diarra, who took over at the combined mines, energy and water ministry last October.

Gold accounts for around 70% of Mali's export earnings and 15% of gross domestic product. Last month, Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe said income from gold would rise 20% in 2009 to $240 million, even as the quantity of gold mined falls.

Earlier this year, the mines ministry forecast 2009 output would be 46 tonnes, down 13% on last year, as mines approach the end of their productive lives.

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

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