Mali Says Gold Adds Record Windfall to Budget


"Soaring gold prices boosted Mali's budget to a record $411.6 million."

Soaring gold prices boosted revenues from mining to Mali's budget to a record 191 billion CFA Franc ($411.6 million) in 2010, compared with 130 billion in 2009, the government of the West African nation said on Friday.

Mali, the third largest gold producer in Africa behind South Africa and Ghana, with production varying between 50 and 60 tons a year, had originally targeted revenues from gold production to reach 150 billion CFA Francs in 2010.

Annual government income is estimated at some $1.5 billion.

"According to final figures, revenues from gold in the 2010 budget totalled 191 billion. The amount will be higher in 2011 if prices are maintained," said Lassana Guindo director of the country's mines and geology directorate.

Gold prices firmed a touch in Europe on Friday, trading at $1,447.40, as resurgent worries over euro zone sovereign debt levels and unrest in Middle East and N. Africa underpinned the metal's safe-haven appeal.

Mali is trying to develop its mining industry to take advantage of high metals prices on world markets and gold has overtaken cotton as the country's primary export earner.

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