Australian miners to form crisis group in West Africa following fatal attack

The Australia-Africa Minerals and Energy Group (AAMEG) will form a crisis and security group for the West Africa region after employees of an Australian mining contractor were killed in Burkina Faso last week.

The November 7 incident saw gunmen open fire on several buses transporting workers to a gold mine owned by Canadian firm Semafo. Of the 39 people killed in the attack, 19 were employed by Australia’s Perenti Global.

“The coming week will see us assembling a crisis and security working group from our headquarters in Perth, WA, to facilitate the sharing of intelligence and focused on minimising risks for our member companies operating in the region,” said AAMEG’s CEO Bill Witham.

According to AAMEG, there are about 20 Australian companies in various stages of exploration and development of minerals projects in Burkina Faso, which has 14 gold mines currently in production.

“Australian companies genuinely want to see Burkina Faso build a strong and sustainable mining sector,” Witham said. “With a positive gold climate and considered one of West Africa’s best known underexplored gold regions with a fantastic population, the country is brimming with potential.

“This shocking attack on our mining peers last week highlights the challenges that international companies are undertaking in developing legitimate and socially responsible mining operations that have the potential to achieve growth and prosperity for all.”