Mali Calling

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"In 1324, Mali was the largest gold producer in the world. . . "

Mali may not be everyone's cup of tea.

If you venture into the wrong place you stand the chance of being kidnapped by al-Qaeda's North African arm. Women are treated appallingly—only 17% of them can read and write. And just the other day 26 people died in a stampede in a mosque at Timbuktu.

But it's the gold that lures us. Mali is now up there with the top targets in Africa.

IAMGOLD Corp operates the Sadiola mine and Randgold the Loulo mine, Resolute Mining is winning gold at Syama and several Canadian companies are looking, including Merrex Gold and Chrysos Capital which have just started drilling in Mali. Gold Fields of South Africa has declared that Mali is its new exploration frontier while AIM-listed Cluff Gold is also active.

Today Golden Rim Resources proclaimed itself one of the biggest license holders in Mali after expanding its Sepola project to 300sq km. This is due to the acquisition of Keniebandi East which, says GMR's Craig Mackay, was "secured despite competition from other companies" The way everyone is trying to grab part of the Mali action, this competition comes as no surprise.

The new area contains numerous artisanal workings.

Just a bit of background that might interest you about Mali and gold. The yellow metal was first produced there in the 12th century, and in 1324 Mali was the largest gold producer in the world. Fortunately, there seems to be quite a lot left in the ground.

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