Mali tightens its new mining code

The new Malian mining code, which has been in the making for months, is now on track. A regulatory text that will be much more binding for operators in the sector.

« On the report of the Minister of Mines and Petroleum, the Council of Ministers has adopted a draft ordinance on the Mining Code in the Republic of Mali », confirms the official communiqué of the Council of Ministers of Mali, dated Wednesday, August 21. The new code, which is much tougher on mining companies, aims, according to the formula used in the report, to « correct the shortcomings » of the current version – which dates from 2012 – in order to « substantially increase the share of mining products in the development of the national economy ».
In fact, under the new regulatory text, mining companies operating in Mali will no longer be exempt from VAT during production and will benefit from a shorter period of protection – called the « stability clause » – against tax and customs changes. Under the previous law, the stability clause was 30 years. While confirming a reduction of this duration in the new code, the Malian government has not provided (for the time being) details of this new period. However, last year, the Malian Ministry of Economy indicated that the national authorities were considering restricting this time interval to « the life of a mine », without further clarification.

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A tightening of conditions that also applies to the more decisive tone adopted by the Malian government, the latter being particularly encouraged by the recent surge in the price of gold, the country’s main resource (60.8 tonnes in 2018), to demand more compensation from operators in the sector. While negotiating with mining companies for the drafting of the new mining code, the latter announced at the end of last year that, in the absence of an agreement, it would act to « unilaterally apply the new law ». On Wednesday, when the minutes of the Council of Ministers were announced, it was still difficult to determine whether the new code was the result of a compromise or whether, on the contrary, it had been proposed without consultation. No major mining company present in Mali (Barrick Gold, AngloGold Ashanti, B2Gold…) has so far provided any information on this subject.