Written by : Benjamin B.Tegbeh –
Abidjan – Nearly 150 illegal gold mines have been closed in northern and central Côte d'Ivoire, according to confirmed information obtained from the Ivorian government in the West African commercial capital, Abidjan Wednesday.
The closure of these mining areas comes less than ten days after the death in a landslide which about five persons including children.
The government decided to ban for three months all artisanal mining exploitation activity said Lamine Affoussiata Bamba, deputy spokesman of the government.
The measure of immediate closure concerns more than 148 illegal sites and operating illegal areas, located in the north and center of the country, said Bamba Lamine during a press conference.
A program of rationalization of gold panning set up by the government intends to reorganize the sector through what the government’s deputy spokes person termed as "a lawful exercise" of the gold mining activity, framed by the mining administration.
Five illegal miners, including children, were killed on October 13 in the collapse of an illegal gold mine in Sakassou in central Cote d'Ivoire.
The victims, Burkinabe nationality, operated a clandestine mine stressed the Superinterdent of Sakassou Angel Tchikaya Kouakou, lamenting the regularity of such accidents.
Ivory Coast opened earlier this year her fourth gold mine in the southwest of the country, expected to increase national gold production from 13 to 16 tons per year.
Mining activity does not exceed 5 % of the Ivorian GDP, according to the Ministry of Mines.
However, thousands of miners have appeared in recent years, illegally exploiting gold in dozens of small mines across the country.
The country has announced the discovery of its biggest gold deposit, with reserves estimated at 200 tonnes owned by the British company Amara Mining, open pit of Yaouré, near the capital Yamoussoukro which is expected to produce its first gold in 2017.