Shares of gold miners B2Gold, Endeavour Mining and Randgold slid in Friday trading in the aftermath of a terrorist attack and hostage-taking at a Western hotel in the Mali capital of Bamako that killed at least 27 people. The producers are among mining companies with operations in the west African country.
B2Gold had two employees staying at the Radisson Blu hotel – the only Western hotel in the capital – who were taken hostage when Islamist terrorists arrived and began shooting. The employees managed to get out safely, the company said.
“Both employees were safely extracted by anti-terrorist soldiers between 15:30 and 17:00 local Bamako time and are safe,” the company said in a news release. “The safety and well-being of our employees are our first priority at B2Gold.”
Special forces from Mali, France and the United States stormed the hotel and freed dozens of hostages after the terrorist attack, the latest in a country where several Islamist militant groups are active. Some of the hostages were reportedly freed after successfully reciting verses from the Koran.
CEO Chat readers heard of the B2Gold connection before it was confirmed by the company when regular @50YearBeckFan mentioned it this morning in the chat.
Vancouver-based B2Gold is developing the Fekola gold mine in southwestern Mali near the border with Senegal. B2Gold picked up the project – where construction includes an on-site airstrip – last year when it took over Papillon Resources.
Neil Woodyer, CEO of Vancouver-based Endeavour Mining, told the Globe and Mail the company had a “supplier-contractor” staying at the hotel. Endeavour operates the Tabakoto gold mine about 360 kilometres west of the capital, and Woodyer said the incident was the first violent incident the company has encountered in 4 years of operations in Mali.
Randgold operates the Loulo-Gounkoto mine complex and is an operator with a 40% share in the Morila gold mine, along with Anglogold-Ashanti (40%) and the Mali government.
Randgold shares were down 1.9% in London trading, while B2Gold shares dropped 5.4% (to $1.40) and Endeavour shares fell 3.3% to 59 cents in Toronto.
Spot gold fell US4.50, or .4%, to $1,078 Friday.
West Africa has been a prolific gold belt and historically viewed as stable by mining companies, but the rise of Islamism has upped the geopolitical risk factor. A coup destabilized neighbouring Burkina Faso – where elections are scheduled for later this month – and construction of True Gold’s Karma mine was also delayed by local Muslims upset at the operation’s proximity to an important mosque.
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