JOHANNESBURG- Russia's Nordgold is shutting down its Taparko mine in Burkina Faso and calling force majeure citing the deteriorating security situation in the West African country, according to a statement seen on Monday.
Burkina Faso, like its neighbours Mali and Niger, is battling armed militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State who have carried out attacks killing thousands of people and displacing over two million others in the West Africa Sahel region.
The gold producer faces increasing threats against its operations and staff each day, Alexander Hagan, director-general of Nordgold subsidiary Société des Mines de Taparko (SOMITA), said in a statement dated April 9, seen by Reuters.
Access to the site has become "quasi-impossible" in recent weeks and the situation is putting the lives of staff on the site in grave danger, according to the statement.
"The company finds itself in a situation of total incapacity to continue its activities," Mensa wrote. "We are therefore advising you of the halt of our mining activities because of force majeure and for security reasons."
A company official in the capital Ouagadougou confirmed by phone that the statement was authentic.
Nordgold did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment.
The Taparko mine is in Burkina Faso's Namantenga province, approximately 200km (124.3 miles) northeast of Ouagadougou.
It produced 53,500 ounces of gold in the first nine months of 2021, according to the company's latest report. Full-year production figures are not yet available.
The mine is located south of the market town of Dori which has witnessed several attacks by armed militants in recent months.
The area is not far from the tri-border area of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali where militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State control swathes of territory. (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Bate Felix and Mike Harrison)