B2Gold says reduced staff continue work at Mali mine amid strike

BAMAKO, May 19 (Reuters) - Gold miner B2Gold said on Tuesday a nationwide strike by Mali’s main workers union had reduced staffing at its Fekola mine but not had a major effect on operations.

The National Union of Malian Workers (UNTM), which says it represents 80% of unionised workers, launched a five-day strike on Monday as part of a long-running standoff with the government over wages.

B2Gold said mining and milling operations were continuing with lower staffing at Fekola, which it expects to produce 530,000 and 560,000 ounces of gold this year.

“There has been no major effect on mine operations from the strike,” said spokeswoman Katie Bromley.

A union representative at Fekola told Reuters some workers were on strike and production had continued at a reduced level.

Mali is one of Africa’s largest gold producers.

Union leaders at two other mines - owned by Resolute Mining and Barrick Gold Corp - also said some workers were on strike but production was unaffected.

Both Barrick and Robex have said operations are unaffected. “We do not anticipate any loss of production. We had several strikes like this over the past couple of years and we always managed to keep our operation running,” said Robex spokesman Aurelien Bonneviot (Reporting by Jeff Lewis and Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)