Reports of civil unrest emerged from the African nation of Burkina Faso this morning. Members of the country’s military are reported to be protesting unpaid housing allowances. In the capital of Ouagadougou, soldiers shot in the air and looted local businesses. While Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest countries, mining has become an important component of the small nation’s economy.
Despite the fact that both gold and silver prices continued their recent ascent, shares of mining companies with operations in Burkina were under pressure Friday. IAMGOLD (IAG-NYSE), Endeavor Mining (EDV-TSX), and Volta Resources, all of which have mining operations in the country were down 6.43%, 3.61% and 4.9%; respectively, at mid-day.
The political uncertainty in Africa surfaces one day after yesterday’s news of potential nationalization from Bolivia following comments by their President, Evo Morales. Mining companies operate around the world and are often faced with challenging and unpredictable regimes. It is difficult for investors to manage this risk although, the more geographically diversified a mining company is, the smaller the single country risk is.