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Extractive imperialism and resistance in Burkina Faso

Yanis Iqbal
Thomas Sankara’s revolutionary government regulated the mining sector, limiting multinational companies ability to plunder Burkina Faso’s rich gold resources.

Canadian company Tajiri Resources announced on August 20 that it had entered into an agreement with Sahara Natural Resources to begin drilling in Burkina Faso at the company’s exploration program on the Reo Gold project, located 130 kilometres west of the capital, Ouagadougou.  The initiation of a mining project, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, reflects the entrenchment of extractive imperialism, and its determination to continue exploiting the country’s workers, regardless. For example, West African gold mining company Roxgold continues to operate its Yaramoko Mine Complex, despite confirming two positive cases of COVID-19 at the site. Industrial mining in Burkina Faso has only evolved during the past decade, with industrial gold production rising tenfold, from five tons in 2008 to more than 50 tons in 2018.