Cape Town — A four-year agreement has been signed between the Mali military junta and Russia for a gold refinery in the Mali capital Bamako that will process 200 tonnes of gold annually, BBC reports. Mali is Africa's third-largest exporter of gold. The commodity is also the country's main export product by value and is a large contributor to the Mali economy.
Finance Minister Alousséni Sanou said that the refinery would allow Mali to control all gold production and "correctly apply all taxes and duties". Mali has strengthened its ties with Russia since a 2021 military coup and the withdrawal of French troops in 2022.
Mali is considered one of the 25 poorest nations in the world, relying heavily on gold and phosphate mining as well as agriculture exports that includes rice, millet, sorghum and cotton.