Yao Kossonou, General Manager, Biotitiale

MACIG Connect Series

Biotitiale can provide all environmental and health and safety services that are required to mine in the Côte D’Ivoire.

To begin, please outline the history of Biotitiale since it was established in 2012?

I was originally an environmentalist before becoming specialised in work place health and safety. I realised that a mine is a world in miniature. It is secluded and must contain everything that it needs. Biotitale was created to service the mines in Côte D’Ivoire and the surrounding region. We help investors in mines with the health and safety of their workers, the protection of the environment and of the communities around the mines. Presently, we are working in Côte D’Ivoire, but we intend to develop across the region, especially in Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Senegal as well as Central Africa.

How many employees do you have and what are their backgrounds?

We are 12 permanent staff, including environmental engineers, health and safety experts and water treatment specialists. All come from the leading schools, especially from the INP-HB (Institut Polytechnique Félix Houphouët BOIGNY) in Yamoussoukro. We invest in training them so that they can satisfy the needs of our clients.

Please explain your mobile laboratories?

Unfortunately, due to the difficult financial conditions in the Côte D’Ivoire and the difficulty of obtaining credit, this project is not yet in operation. It nevertheless is a priority. It is a truck that will provide our services. Formerly, due to insecurity in certain regions, the truck would have been at risk so the management decided to postpone this initiative. So at the moment we are working to provide results as quickly as we possibly can for our clients.

What services do you offer to mines at the outset of a project?

It depends on the client; the regulations are clear. If a client wishes us to complete all requirements until a permit is obtained, we can provide that service, or else we can help with particularities related to each mine. We can coach a company as to how to obtain all of the various permissions required from the Ministry of Industry and Mines as well as other institutions, especially in all matters concerning safety, security and the protection of the environment.

How do you help to protect local communities from the pollution caused by mines? 

In the Côte D’Ivoire there is an authority called CIAPOL (Centre Ivoirien anti-Pollution) which is a part of the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development that follows closely all aspects of the environmental impact of mines. We accompany mining companies and help them to control air and sound pollution. We have all of the necessary technology to test atmospheric purity and can measure levels of sound and dust.

How do the regulations of the Côte D’Ivoire compare with those applied in other mining jurisdictions?

The new mining code sets the regulations, which we follow very closely. Of course there are aspects, which need to be improved, but having visited other countries in the region, this country is clearly progressing towards the implementation of the best international standards.

How does artisanal mining impact on the environment?

We can see that, on the one hand, there are mining companies that respect both the national and international regulations and implement them, but, on the other hand, there are those that respect neither. For example, they may use dangerous chemicals without any of the proper controls. We appreciate the government’s efforts to prevent this.

What are the objectives of Biotitiale for the coming years?

Our objective is to become an important partner with all of the mining companies in this region. The laboratory was built for this purpose. We want to enter into a dialogue with mining companies so as to ensure a healthy environment for the good of the workers, the communities nearby and for the mining companies themselves.

What is your message for the international mining community from Biotitiale?

At Biotitiale, we are passionate about the environment. We need to preserve the environment as we found it. Whatever the metal, we want to help investors and mining companies with the health and safety of their workers, managing the environment surrounding a mine, making environmental analysis and implementing preventive measures so as to preserve the environment for future generations.


Eric N’guessan, Partner, EY Cote d’Ivoire

MACIG Connect Series

EY has selected Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, as its regional mining hub for West Africa.

How has EY’s presence in Cote d’Ivoire evolved since its establishment here in 1958?

EY Cote d’Ivoire positioned itself in Abidjan as the center point between Canada and Australia because a great deal of foreign direct investment comes from those two mining powerhouses. Globally, EY has nine world mining partners, and in West Africa, EY Cote d’Ivoire is the hub for the region. From Abidjan, we cover Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Benin—a majority of our mining activity takes places in Mali and Burkina Faso. Our success is a matter of specialization, as we have a handful of people that specialize in mining tax, due to the complex particularities that are very unique to the industry. The smallest decimal points can make a difference when drafting mining business plans or making the calculations of productivity. Continue reading

Cote d’Ivoire Wins the Gold: West Africa’s Top Mining Destination

Tumultuous events on the surface have prevented investment in Cote d’Ivoire since the dawn of the new century, but today’s stability has encouraged a scramble for mining rights in West Africa’s most overlooked and prospective mining destination.

Meredith Veit

The global mining community has known for decades that Cote d’Ivoire sits on resources worth exploiting, but tumultuous circumstances above ground have kept most investors wary of setting up business within its borders. A coup, civil war, and economic downturn have plagued the country’s entrance into the 21st century, but the re-election of President Ouattara in 2015 serves as an indication of of Cote d’Ivoire’s recent stability. Those already established in Cote d’Ivoire do not dwell on the conflicts of the past; instead there is a stir of excitement for having found the pot of gold before the rest. The increase in gold prices, coupled with large-scale regulatory reform, makes Cote d’Ivoire’s large portion of the Birimian belt more attractive than ever. Players who left the market years ago are now seeking points of re-entry, and current producers are snatching up as much land as possible while they still can. Continue reading

Mandjou Kourouma, Director General, Soudure Industrielle Et Construction Cote d’Ivoire (SIC–CI)

MACIG Connect Series

“SIC-CI is a local Ivoirian welding company that is winning contracts with international miners”

Can you give a brief introduction and history of SIC-CI since its creation in 2013?

SIC-CI focuses on the mining and oil and gas industries. I personally have a decade of experience in the industrial sector as I previously worked for a chemical company, after which I entered the mining sector. I started working with Randgold in construction on the Tongon Mine for over two years, then established Mining Logistics Company (MLC) with two partners, and then entered the welding and construction section of the supply chain. Three years after the establishment of MLC, I decided to create and develop SIC-CI which has a focus on industrial welding and construction. Continue reading

Dalil Paraiso, West Africa General Director, Schneider Electric

MACIG Connect Series

“Many investors are arriving which means that we have more and more competition at every level. We are aware, therefore, that we must increase our standards when operating in the country as we wish to be a key investor in Cote d’Ivoire for the next ten or twenty years.”

Can you give us any overview of your activities in West Africa and specifically a description of Schneider Electric’s role in Cote d’Ivoire?

Schneider Francophone West Africa oversees twelve different countries in the region with two main offices in Abidjan and Dakar. Our regional team consists of around forty people and we serve various sectors including utilities, data centers, banks, telephone companies, as well as players in mining and water. We heavily support the empowerment of local people and businesses, which is why our focus has been to develop both a variety of local partners as well as our presence in the region.

Schneider is very integrated in mining in West Africa, Continue reading

Geert Klok , Managing Director Grafite Kropfmuehl de Moçambique

MACIG Connect Series

“GK Moçambique is reviving the Ancuabe Graphite mine aiming at production of 6,000 mt/y.”

Can you give us an introduction to GK Moçambique?

Grafite Kropfmuehl de Moçambique (GK Moçambique) is a subsidiary of  the German graphite mining and processing company Graphit Kropfmuehl GmbH (GK). In its turn, GK is part of the Advanced Metallurgical Group (AMG) which is listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. GK has operations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Our operations in Mozambique began in 2009, with exploration work through GK Moçambique. GK Moçambique has five prospecting licences in Cabo Delgado province. In addition to GK Moçambique, we have founded GK Ancuabe Graphite Mine. This company was set up to reopen the Ancuabe mine which ceased to operate in 1998.

How has the Ancuabe mine renovation process come along and what is its potential output? Continue reading

Mozambique Mining

Mozambique has a new government, a new mining code and a lot of new infrastructure

Nathan Allen

When Vale inaugurated its multibillion-dollar Moatize mine in 2011, the media proclaimed the start of a coal boom in the Tete province, with major mining houses and ambitious juniors scrambling to invest. They had mixed results. Rio Tinto’s 2011 acquisition of the Benga coal project for $3.7bn and subsequent sale for $50m in 2014 has become emblematic of the industry’s hubris and carelessness during the boom years.

Logistical problems have so far capped Vale’s total coal exports at 6.5 million mt/y, despite nameplate production capacity of 11 million mt/y. The operators resorted to storing mined coal in stockpiles, which has caused environmental and safety problems. Heavy rains then led the Brazilian major to declare force majeure on shipments of 500,000 mt in 2013. Eventually, the company decided to take matters into its own hands, constructing the Nacala Logistics Corridor, its own integrated logistics network consisting of a 900 km railway and deep-water port complex. The project was completed in late 2015 at a cost of around $4.4 billion and Vale hopes this will now allow Moatize to become profitable. Continue reading