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Barrick Gold says Mali mines unaffected by ECOWAS sanctions

(Recasts with Barrick Gold, adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Barrick Gold, which owns Mali’s biggest gold mine complex Loulo-Gounkoto, said on Monday its mines in the country have “thus far not been affected” by sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States.

The 15-state regional bloc imposed tough economic sanctions, and said it would also shut borders and sever diplomatic ties, in response to Mali’s delay in holding elections following a 2020 military coup.

Barrick said its mines had sufficient stocks and stores to continue operating normally, adding however that the situation was “very fluid” and it was monitoring it closely.

Mali is one of Africa’s biggest gold producers, with mining contributing around 10% of its gross domestic product (GDP).

Companies like Barrick, B2Gold and Resolute Mining operate large mines in the country while many smaller companies are exploring for gold there.

Hummingbird Resources, which owns the Yanfolila gold mine, said it was evaluating the risks to its supply chain from economic sanctions.

“Whilst all plans will be made to minimise the potential impact, it is too early to say how these sanctions may potentially affect our business,” Hummingbird said in a statement. Its shares were down 5% in London.

A spokesperson for Cora Gold, which plans to start building its Sanankoro gold mine in Mali this year, said the board was monitoring the situation and operations in Mali are continuing as normal.

B2Gold and Resolute did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the possible impact of the sanctions. (Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Jason Neely, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, William Maclean)

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