Mali is a landlocked country located in West Africa. The country gained independence from France on 22 September 1960 and subsequently suffered droughts, rebellions, a coup and 23 years of military dictatorship until democratic elections in 1992. Since then, and until 2012, Mali experienced rapid economic growth and social stability. In 2012 a second military coup toppled the democratically elected government and opened the way to an invasion of the country by jihadists. In January 2013, intervention by the French military stopped the advancement of the jihadists and pushed them back into hiding, with sporadic terrorist activity mostly restricted to the northern parts of the country. In August 2013 a new president was elected for a five year term in a fair and free democratic election. The main aims of the new government are to restore peace through the country and encourage economic development.
The economy of Mali is largely based on agriculture with a mostly rural population. The country is self-sufficient in food and is also one of Africa’s major cotton producers. A large foreign trade deficit makes the country nonetheless heavily dependent on foreign aid.
Mining has long been an important aspect of the Malian economy. Gold is the third largest source of export revenue and the country is currently the third largest gold producer in Africa. In 1991, Mali reformed its mining code which led to greater foreign investment in the mining industry and resulted in the opening of several new gold mines operated by significant gold producers including Randgold Resources, AngloGold Ashanti, Iamgold and Resolute Mining. Currently there are 9 gold mines in operation and 3 gold mines in construction.
Exploration permits of up to 100 km2 in area are granted for three years, but after two years, half of the permit area must be relinquished. An exploration permit is renewable twice for a further two years.
Mining permits are granted for a maximum 30 year period. There are small annual rents due based on the area of the permit and an ‘ad valorem’ royalty of 6% payable on the ex-mine value of production less production costs. Mining ventures are subject to a reduced corporate tax of 25% for the first 15 years of production. All equipment for the project can be imported duty free during the exploration period and for the first three years of the exploitation period. Capital and dividends can be repatriated. Government participation may be up to 20% of the project equity.