Morocco's largest private corporation, Omnium Nord Africain (ONA) said it would seek new mining concessions in western Africa, particularly Guinea, Mali, Niger and the Ivory Coast.
The chief executive, Mourad Sherif, told reporters ONA wants to be a major
gold producer in West Africa, with a projected output of 10 tons annually.
ONA is involved in a variety of enterprises, including mining, iron and steel, the food industry, insurance and hotel management.
Sherif said his group's mining branch, "Managem," has bought 51 percent of
the shares in Semafo, a Canadian firm active in mining in Western Africa,
and will invest $48 million (Canadian dollars) in the company.
Besides this international expansion, Managem will continue efforts to consolidate its position as the major mining operator in Morocco, he said.
Managem will start the exploitation of a gold mine in southern Morocco at
an output of 3 tons annually. The project had been earmarked a budget of $20
million by the French Development Fund.
ONA said it would also continue working in cobalt drilling and processing, with an annual production of 1,100 tons per year. According to Sherif, Managem posted a net financial result of $15.5 million at the end of June, a 24 percent increase over the $12.5 million in the
first half of 1999.
The firm's turnover reached $81.9 million in the first half of this year, a
25 percent jump from $65.8 million in the corresponding period of 1999.
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