The War in Mali: for Uranium, Gold and Oil

Posted on Updated on


Regardless of what is said in the media, the aim of this new war is none other than to strip another country of its natural resources by ensuring access for international companies to do so. What is now happening in Mali with bombs and bullets, is the same thing that is happening in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain through debt bondage.

The French government has stated that:

“it would send 2,500 soldiers to support Malian government soldiers in the conflict against Islamist rebels. France has already deployed around 750 troops to Mali (…) We will continue the deployment of forces on the ground and in the air (…) We have one goal. To ensure that when we leave, when we end our intervention, Mali is safe, has legitimate authorities, an electoral process and there are no more terrorists threatening its territory”. [1]

So this is the official position of France and those who support it. And, of course, it is spread widely by the media.

France is supported by other members of NATO. The US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed that the US is providing intelligence to French forces in Mali [2]. Canada, Belgium, Denmark and Germany have also publicly supported the French invasion, promising logistical support in order to suppress the rebels [3].

But if we believe this, we will never know the truth. A look at natural resources [4] in Mali reveals what it is really about.

Mali’s natural resources

Gold: Mali is the third-largest gold producing country in Africa and largescale exploration continues. Mali was famous for its gold since the times of the great empire of Mali and the pilgrimage to Mecca by Emperor Kankou Moussa in 1324, who moved by caravan more than 8 tons of gold. Therefore, Mali has traditionally been a mining country for over half a millennium.

Mali currently has seven gold mines in operation, such as those at Kalana and Morila in the south, Yatela, Sadiola and Loulo in the west, and mines that have recently resumed production, in particular Syama and Tabakoto. Gold exploration projects are currently under way in Kofi, Kodieran, Gounkoto, Koman, Banankoro, Kobada and Nampala.

Uranium: There are encouraging signs for the existence of uranium and exploration is in full swing. Exploration is currently being conducted by various companies, with clear indications of uranium deposits in Mali. Potential for uranium exists in Falea, covering 150 km² of the Falea-North Guinea basin, a sedimentary basin characterized by significant radiometric anomalies. The potential for uranium in Falea is believed to be of about 5,000 tonnes. The Kidal project in northeastern Mali, with an area of 19.930 km², covers a large crystalline geological province known as L’Adrar Des Iforas. The uranium potential in Gao alone is estimated to be around 200 tons.

Diamonds: Mali has the potential to develop exploration for diamonds: the administrative region of Kayes (Mining Area 1), thirty kimberlitic pipes have been discovered, of which eight have traces of diamonds. Around eight small diamonds have been collected in the administrative region of Sikasso (southern Mali).

Gems can be found on various sites: the Circle of Nioro and Bafoulabe (garnets and rare magnetic minerals), the Circle of Bougouni and Faleme Basin (pegmatite minerals), Le Gourma (garnets and corundums), L’Adrar des Ilforas (pegmatite and metamorphic rocks), Hombori Douentza Zone (quartz and carbonates).

Mali also has significant resources in iron ore, bauxite and manganese, but they are still untapped. According to estimates, Mali has more than 2 million tonnes of potential iron ore reserves, located in the Djidian-Kenieba, Diamou and Bale areas.

Bauxite reserves are believed to be in the region of 1.2 million tons, located on sites at Kita, Kenieba and Bafing-Makana. Traces of manganese have been found on sites in Bafing-Makana, Tondibi and Tassiga.

Other mineral resources and potential in Mali

Limestone: 10 million tons (Gangotery), 30 million tons (Astro) and Bah El Heri (Nord de Goundam) 2,2 million tonnes.

Copper: potential in Bafing Makan (Western Region) and Ouatagouna (Northern Region).

Marble: estimated reserves of 10,6 mt in Selinkegny (Bafoulabe) with traces in Madibaya.

Gypsum: at the Taoudenit (est. 35 mt) and Indice Kereit (0,37 mt) sites.

Kaolin: potential reserves (1 mt) in Gao (northern region).

Phosphates: there is a reserve in Tamaguilelt producing 18,000 tons per year with an estimated potential of 12 million tonnes. There are four other potential reserves of 10 million tonnes in the north.

Lead and zinc: in Tessalit (estimated reserves 1.7 mt), with traces in Bafing Makana (western region) and Fafa (northern Mali).

Lithium: signs of deposits in Kayes (western region) with an estimated capacity of 4 million tonnes in Bougouni (southern region).

Bituminous shale: an estimated 870 million tonnes of resources and evidence found in Agamor Almoustrat in the northern part of the country.

Lignite: an estimated 1.3 million tonnes of capacity, with traces found in Bourem (northern region).

Rock salt: estimated potential of 53 million tons in Taoudenni (northern region).

Diatomite: estimated potential of 65 million tons in Douna Behri (northern region).

The potential for oil in Mali is already attracting the interest of investors. This potential has been documented since the 1970s, where seismic events and occasional boreholes revealed possible signs of oil. With the increase in the world price of oil and gas, Mali has intensified its efforts to promote oil exploration, for production and export opportunities. Mali could also provide a strategic transport route for the export of oil and natural gas to the West and there is the possibility of connecting the Taoudeni basin to the European market through Algeria.

Work has already begun to interpret previously collected geophysical and geological data, focusing on five sedimentary basins in the northern part of the country including Taoudeni, Tamesna, Ilumenden, Ditch Nara and Gao.


Regardless of what is said in the media, the aim of this new war is none other than to strip another country of its natural resources by ensuring access for international companies to do so. What is now happening in Mali with bombs and bullets, is the same thing that is happening in Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain through debt bondage.

And people are suffering and dying.

2 days ago “The Guardian” reported [5] that “The human toll has not yet been calculated, but a communique read on state television late Saturday said that at least 11 Malians were killed in Konna.

Sory Diakite, the mayor of Konna, says the dead included children who drowned after they threw themselves into a river in an effort to escape the bombs. ‘Others were killed inside their courtyards, or outside their homes. People were trying to flee to find refuge. Some drowned in the river. At least three children threw themselves in the river. They were trying to swim to the other side. And there has been significant infrastructure damage,’ said the mayor, who fled the town with his family and is now in Bamako.”

Who knows now what how many are dead… And who knows what can help any country and its people, when there are resources that “should” be used.


Translation by FdCA – International Relations Office.


4. All information from “Les Journées Minières et Pétrolières du Mali” (government information) –