Kalsaka/Sega Gold Mines, Amara Mining plc/Perseus Ltd, Burkina Faso

The industrial exploitation of Kalsaka/Sega gold deposits did not benefit the local populations, their living conditions were worsen. Now, the project is over and the open pits were left behind by the mining company, abandoned.


En Français ci-dessous -------- The mining sector in Burkina Faso was previously mostly dominated by small–scale and artisanal endeavours. Small artisanal mining in Kalsaka started in the early 1980s and intensified after the 1984’s drought when low harvests forced farmers to diversify their sources of revenues. It was then an activity practiced during the dry season. But from the 2000s most of the population depended on it. Numerous of the artisanal miners were women. For many years, the national organization Orcade has been supporting them by informing them about their rights and the hazards they expose themselves through the manipulation of heavy metals. Recently, the GDP-led development agenda of the government counts on the multiplication of industrialized and large-scale mining projects. The arrival of Cluff Gold plc (became Amara Mining plc in 2012) in Kalsaka implied land expropriations of local landowners and the drastic reduction of lands accessible for artisanal mining. By 2012, the extraction in Kalsaka pit ended because of the depletion of the ore. Yet, a year later by 2013, the new acquisition by Amara of Seguénéga site implied violent displacements and the road built between Kalsaka and Sega sites divided villages from fields. The promises of local employment were not honored. For the local communities industrial mining meant increased poverty and exacerbated socio-economic living conditions. Orcade led participation action research on the gendered differentiated impacts of the industrialization of mining in Kalsaka. Women are the most worst off. The monetary compensations only considered the expropriations from the farming lands while the artisanal miners were not compensated from losing access to the lands for gold panning. When men were able to migrate, women remained with their offspring. They had no more access to the neighbouring lands for subsistence farming nor to the gold deposits for monetary complementary revenues. They looked for alternative sources of revenues. They have come together and prioritized the generation of income through activities such as livestock farming and fabric dying as well as cultivating lands further away from their village. Amara Mining plc fed a fund during the activity years at Kalsaka which is intended for the rehabilitation of the open-pits. It includes up to 9 billion CFA francsPerseus Ltd, Amara’s new owner, remains accountable for the restoration of the sites. It is apparently a legislative blank and a lack of political willingness which keep on delaying the start of the environmental rehabilitation of the open pits. By March 2017, this situation remains the same. The cyanide and arsenic pollution of the soil continues limiting agriculture and threatening wildlife.

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Basic Data
NameKalsaka/Sega Gold Mines, Amara Mining plc/Perseus Ltd, Burkina Faso
CountryBurkina Faso
Province Kalsaka Department, Yatenga Province
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsKalsaka mine is one of the country’s largest industrial exploitation sites (2.500 ha). Its industrial exploitation started in October 2008 by Cluff Gold plc (which became Amara Mining plc in 2012) and lasted until 2012 when the ore reserves were depleted. The national government hold 10% of the mine's ownership. The mine was being supplied with the water from the Kanazoe dam. In July 2013, Amara was granted another exploitation permit, at Seguénéga, 20km away from Kalsaka (4.900ha). The gold extracted at Seguénéga was leached at the Kalsaka plant. By the last quarter of 2014, operations stopped at Sega site too, after a default notice of the local contractor BCM International. Perseus Mining Ltd bought Amara Mining pld in 2016 and so became accountable for the rehabilitation of the two mining sities [1].

Le site de Kalsaka est l'une des mines industrialisées du pays (2,500 ha). Son exploitation industrielle a commencé en octobre 2008 par Cluff Gold plc (qui est devenu Amara Mining plc en 2012) et a duré jusqu'en 2012. La mine était alimentée en eau grâce au barrage de Kanazoe. En juillet 2013, Amara a obtenu un autre permis d'exploitation, à Seguénéga, à 20 km de Kalsaka (4.900ha). La lixiviation de l'or extrait à Seguénéga était faite à l'usine de Kalsaka. Au dernier trimestre de 2014, les opérations se sont également arrêtées sur le site Sega, après l’avis de défaut de la part de l'entrepreneur local BCM International. Après l’achat d’Amara Mining pld en 2016, Perseus Mining Ltd est responsable de la réhabilitation des deux anciennes mines à ciel ouvert [1].
Project Area (in hectares)7,400
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population50,000
Company Names or State EnterprisesAmara Mining plc from United Kingdom - Exploited Kalsaka site from 2004 to 2016
Seguénéga Mining SA from Burkina Faso - Amara Mining's subsidiary
Cluff Gold plc from United Kingdom - Inaugurated the modern exploitation of the site
Maccaferri Corporate from Italy - built a reaining wall for the crushing facility of the mine
IMAR-B from Burkina Faso
Perseus Mining Limited from Australia
Seguénéga Mining SA from Burkina Faso - Amara Mining local subsidiary
BCM International Group from Ghana - Amara's contractor at Kalsaka/Sega site
Metalor from Switzerland - 90% of the gold from Burkina Faso is refined by the Swiz company, including the gold from Kalsaka/Sega
Relevant government actorsMinistère de l’Environnement, de l’Economie verte et du Changement climatique
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOrcade - http://www.orcade.org/ ; WoMin - https://womin.org.za/; Action de Careme (Switzerland)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingArtisanal miners
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination
Potential: Mine tailing spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Othercyanide soil contamination destroying agricultural fields surrounding the two open pits
Health ImpactsVisible: Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Violations of human rights, Increase in violence and crime, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
OtherPopulations are becoming substantially poorer.
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Development of AlternativesThe national government should carry prior consultation of the local communities about the mining companies concessions, the application of the new mining code from 2015 should improve the mining policies [2], better taking into account its social and environmental consequences.

Une consultation préalable des communautés locales serait nécessaire sur les concessions de gisements octroyés aux sociétés minières, l'application du nouveau code minier à partir de 2015 devrait améliorer les politiques minières [2], afin de tenir compte des conséquences sociales et environnementales.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The rehabilitation of the mining sites has not happened. The local inhabitants have to deal with the deterioration of the arable lands on their own.

La réhabilitation des sites miniers n'a pas eu lieu. Les habitants doivent faire face seuls à la détérioration des terres arables.
Sources and Materials

Mining Code from 1993

law n°031-2008/AN from 2003, validating new Mining Code


Femmes mineures artisanales au Burkina Faso, Power Point par ORCADE
[click to view]


S. Barradas, Kalsaka mine, Burkina Faso, Mining Weeekly, 2/11/2012
[click to view]

Exploitation minière au Burkina: les impacts sur les femmes de Kalsaka objet d’une étude, Ouaga.com, 12 février 2016
[click to view]

Nicole Ouédraogo, Exploitation minière en Afrique : Les femmes durement touchées, Le Faso.net, 11 Fevrier 2016
[click to view]

Kalsaka gold mine launches production, Mining Review Africa, 9/10/2009
[click to view]

Sheila Barradas, Kalsaka mine, Burkina Faso, Mining Weekly, 2/11/2012
[click to view]

Mining ceased at Kalsaka/Sega, Amara CEO resigns, Mining Weekly, 6/08/2014
[click to view]

La société anglaise Amara mining obtient un permis d’exploitation d’or au Burkina, 4/07/2013
[click to view]

Contractor Default Forces Amara Mining To Close Kalsaka/Sega Early, Alliance News, 6/08/2014
[click to view]

Adoua Kassiro, Catastrophe environnementale sur le site minier de Kalsaka: le gouvernement est entièrement responsable!, Les Echos du Faso, 17/03/2017
[click to view]

Impact de l’exploitation minière sur les femmes: ORCADE rend son rapport public, 11/02/2016
[click to view]

[2] Ousmane Tiendrebeogo, Burkina Faso: Conflits entre populations et sociétés minières - « l'Etat et les sociétés minières responsables » selon l'ONG ORCADE, 2/05/2017
[click to view]

Amara Mining arrête ses activités sur son site de Kalsaka/Sega au Burkina, 9/08/2014
[click to view]

[1] Séguénéga et Kalsaka mining : Des carrières à ciel ouvert à vie ?, Ecodufaso, 31/08/2016
[click to view]

Jacques Berset, Extraction de l’or au Burkina Faso: la Suisse interpellée, 15.02.2016
[click to view]

Kalsaka mining : A la veille de la fermeture, les populations riveraines s’interrogent, Lefaso, 4/08/2014
[click to view]

Mine d’or de Kalsaka : L’espoir perdu pour les femmes, L'Economiste du Faso
[click to view]

Media Links

Gold extraction and women's struggle for survival in Burkina Faso, WoMin and Orcade
[click to view]

Exploitation de l'or au Burkina et Lutte des femmes pour La Survie, WoMin et Orcade
[click to view]

La vision du régime minier de l'Afrique, Une Critique Écoféministe Depuis Longtemps Attendue, Womin, 8 Fevrier 2016
[click to view]

Le profit plus important que les droits humains ? L’extraction de l’or au Burkina Faso et la responsabilité de la Suisse, Action de Carême, Février 2016
[click to view]

Femme et l'exploitation minière à Kalsaka, Orcade, Fevrier 2015
[click to view]

Mining Conflicts in Burkina Faso, Interactive Map
[click to view]

Other Documents

Women artisanal gold miners, Kalsaka Source: leconomistedufaso.bf
[click to view]

Facilities of the mine Source: http://www.northernminer.com/news/sega-looking-good-to-amara-in-burkina/1001816930/
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorCamila Rolando Mazzuca
Last update25/09/2017