Mali Slashes Rosy Gold Output Forecast


"The largely desert country relies on gold for 70% of its exports."

Mali, Africa's third-largest gold miner, cut its 2011 production forecast by more than 15% after mining companies revised their numbers lower, the government said on Monday.

Output for the year will reach 49.577 tons instead of the more than 60 tons announced by Mali President Amadou Toumani Toure in a televised address in January, said Bafa Sangare, a mines ministry official.

The forecast would still mark an increase over 2010 production of 46.033 tons.

"The projection of 60.5 tons was downgraded because of revisions by the private companies, who are planning 45.577 tons in 2011, adding to artisanal output of 4 tons to total 49.577 tons of domestic production," he said.

Mali, a largely desert country, relies on gold for 70% of its exports and 15% of its gross domestic product. Its gold output has been hit in recent years by slowdowns at some of its biggest and oldest mines.

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