The Republic of Mali is a landlocked nation bordering Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. The country is just over 1,240,000 km² with an estimated population of almost 12,000,000.
There is an airstrip at the Sadiola Gold Mine capable of handling light aircraft on a charter basis from Bamako.
The Sadiola deposit was identified as a favourable gold exploration area, based upon the widespread evidence of artisanal gold workings, and small scale mining by locals. Written records of mining at Sadiola reportedly date back almost 300 years and the extent of the old workings suggests that the mining could have occurred over 1,000 years ago. The Yatela area was recognized early on in this exploration rush as having the potential to host a mineable deposit.
In late 1997, IAMGOLD and Anglo American signed an agreement with Eltin Limited of Australia to purchase the Yatela concession located 25 kilometres north of the Sadiola Gold Mine. The purchase was completed in early 1998 and a feasibility study managed by AngloGold was commenced in March 1998. The final feasibility study was issued in November 1999. The Government of Mali issued an exploitation permit for the Yatela project in February 2000. IAMGOLD and AngloGold then agreed to proceed with the development of the Yatela Gold Mine. The gold assets of Anglo American were eventually spun off to form the largest part of a new company: AngloGold Ashanti.
AngloGold Ashanti, through its wholly-owned subsidiary AngloGold Ashanti Mali S.A. (‘‘AngloGold Mali’’), is the operator of the Yatela Gold Mine.
1987 Government of Mali began exploration of Sadiola/Yatela area1997 IAMGOLD and AngloGold Ashanti acquired Yatela1999 Yatela feasibility study completed2000 Development of the Yatela Gold Mine commenced2001 Yatela Gold Mine commenced production