Burkina Faso Orders Pan African Minerals to Halt Tambao

Burkina Faso told a unit of Timis Mining Corp. to stop production while it reviews the permit that was granted to the company to develop the Tambao manganese deposit, one of the world’s largest of the metal, at a cost of $1 billion.

The government hasn’t revoked the permit of Pan African Minerals, the unit, Amadou Dicko, spokesman for the country’s mining ministry, said by phone Tuesday. A London-based spokesman for Pan African Minerals wouldn’t immediately comment.

“The production license hasn’t been revoked,” Dicko said. “The work has been stopped to review how the permit was awarded.”

Burkina Faso’s transitional government is reviewing mining contracts awarded under former President Blaise Compaore’s 27-year rule. Protesters ousted Compaore in October last year. The country is Africa’s fourth-largest producer of gold, after South Africa, Ghana and Mali. Presidential elections are scheduled for October.

Pan African Minerals agreed to build a 210-kilometer (131 miles) railway to Tambao as part of the development of the manganese deposit, Compaore said last year. Pan African has exported about 2,000 metric tons of the metal, which is used to harden steel.

Timis is controlled by Frank Timis, the 52-year-old founder of mining and energy companies including Gabriel Resources Ltd., Regal Petroleum Plc and European Goldfields Ltd. He chaired African Minerals Ltd., a Sierra Leone iron-ore producer that once was worth more than 2 billion pounds ($3 billion) before a slump in the price of the steel-making ingredient dragged the company into administration on March 6.

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