Attackers raided the Karma industrial gold mine in northern Burkina Faso early Thursday morning, killing one soldier and one mine employee.
The mine’s operations have been halted to focus on securing the site, according to Nere Mining Group, the Burkina Faso-based consortium that owns it.
An official who answered the phone at Nere Mining told journalists that three or four soldiers were wounded in the assault, which occurred around 4:30 a.m. (0430 GMT). Before he could say his name, the call was cut off.
The attackers were not identified, according to the company, and the attack was eventually repelled by mine security workers and soldiers. It stated that it is still assessing the impact.
For nearly a decade, Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have waged an insurgency in northern Burkina Faso, carrying out attacks on a regular basis.
Convoys traveling to and from the region’s gold mines have been targeted by several of them. The deadliest was a 2019 ambush on buses carrying employees of Canadian firm Semafo, which killed 39 people.
Mine-related attacks, on the other hand, have been extremely rare.
According to a diplomatic source, three people were killed and ten others were injured at the mine, eight of whom were seriously injured. Around 200 unknown attackers arrived just before dawn, according to a Burkinabe security source.
The president of Burkina Faso’s mines chamber said in April that extra measures would be taken to protect gold projects in the north after Russia’s Nordgold shut down its mine there, citing deteriorating security.
Nere Mining purchased Endeavour Mining’s 90% stake in the Karma mine in March for $25 million. It produced about 88,000 ounces of gold in 2021.