December 2, 2019 / 11:02 PM / 8 days ago

Semafo says Boungou mine operations not expected to restart this year

Dec 2 (Reuters) - Canadian gold miner Semafo Inc said on Monday it does not expect to restart operations at its Boungou Mine in Burkina Faso this year after a deadly attack on a convoy of buses carrying its employees last month forced it to suspend operations.

The attack, which was the deadliest in recent years for the West African country, had killed at least 39 people while wounding more than 60 others.

Sefamo said while the restart plan was within its control, there were many aspects that needed support from the government and the company's existing suppliers.

Burkina Faso is struggling to combat surging Islamist violence in its remote eastern and northern scrublands. Sefamo said any restart plan will require the government to increase the security of the public road to Boungou as well as in the region.

"We are evaluating scenarios to limit the use of the public road, such as transporting our people by air from Fada to Boungou," Semafo said.

Construction of the airstrip, which had begun before the attack, would take an additional three months to complete once work on it restarts, the company added.

Transportation by helicopter will continue until the airstrip is operational. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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