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Mali Oil Exploration Is ‘Well Advanced,’ Prime Minister Says

Four companies are “well advanced” in exploring for oil in Mali, the landlocked West African nation that borders Algeria and Niger, said Prime Minister Cisse Mariam Kaidama Sidibe.

The “interpretation of seismic data gives hope,” she said today in a speech in Bamako, the capital.

Mali, which vies with Tanzania to be Africa’s third-biggest producer of gold, is seeking new sources of revenue apart from mining of the precious metal, she said. The country also wants to lure investors in other minerals including manganese, iron and bauxite, Sidibe said.

Petroplus Africa Ltd. and Simba Energy Inc. are among the companies that have signed exploration deals with the Malian administration.

Gold contributed 150 billion CFA francs ($314 million) to the nation’s budget in 2010, with production of 50 metric tons, she said.

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