Gold mining production in Mali could be set to plunge by up to 12 per cent this year, according to official data released this week.
A publication from the country's mines ministry has suggested that gold bullion production, which fell by nine per cent last year, could drop to 50.11 tons in 2008, Reuters reports.
Last year, some 56.75 tons of the yellow metal was mined in Mali. It is the leading export for the country, with gold accounting for 59 per cent of goods exports in 2003, according to the World Gold Council.
The forecast comes amid a flurry of predictions from countries and mining firms of lower gold output for the next 12 months as a result of fewer gold deposits being found, higher costs and other factors - potentially positive news for those investing in gold.
"Most of the big mines have reached the end of their lives and encouraging exploration is underway to find new resources and increase their lifespan," Lassana Guindo of the Mali mines ministry told Reuters.
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