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Mali creates new company to get bigger slice of mining wealth

Kitco News

BAMAKO, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Mali's transitional government late on Thursday signed into law a new state-owned mining company, part of the government's bid to increase revenues from the mining industry, a key engine of the West African country's economy.

The company, Société de Recherche et d'Exploitation Minière du Mali (Sorem SA), will be fully funded by the state and will aim to explore and develop mines, officials said.

The officials did not detail how much funding the state was giving Sorem, nor which mine projects the company was likely to focus on.

"The Malian state is going to enter the mining sector, there is space for everyone," mines ministry secretary-general Soussourou Dembelé told Reuters by telephone.

Multinational mining companies including Barrick Gold , B2GOLD , Resolute Mining , Endeavour Mining, and Hummingbird Resources have subsidiaries mining gold in Mali, one of Africa's biggest gold producers.

By law, the Malian state holds stakes of between 10% and 20% in those subsidiaries.

"For the mines that will be developed by Sorem, the state will get 100% of the benefits," Souleymane Gueye, president of the legal commission of Mali's transitional government, said on state radio on Friday.

(Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako Writing by Helen Reid in Johannesburg Editing by Mark Potter)

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