Already the global leader at supplying cocoa, the West African nation is aiming to produce 17 metric tons of the precious metal in 2015 and 25 metric tons of bullion in 2020, President Alassane Ouattara said on Monday at ceremonies opening the Tongon mine. The facility located in the northern region of the nation is operated by an English outfit.
"The Tongon mine is a first step toward our ambition to turn mining into a key sector in the economic and social development of Ivory Coast," Ouattara said, according to Bloomberg. "The mining sector could create tens of thousands jobs."
Empowered earlier this year following a disputed presidential election, Ouattara has worked to re-build the nation's infrastructure after the 10-year rule of Laurent Gbagbo came to a close in November 2010. But Gbagbo refused to cede power until he was forcibly apprehended in March by peacekeepers from the U.N. and France.
UPI reports a U.N. official said last week that the nation is in need of increased assistance from the humanitarian community to surmount troubles from the disputed election.
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