The Proterozoic Greenstone Belts of West Africa (also known as Birimian Greenstone Belts) encompass a vast area of approximately 350,000 square kilometres. World-class gold deposits situated within the Birimian Greenstone Belts have been discovered in the countries of Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire (See Figure 1).

Birimian Greenstone Belts - Gold Deposits
Figure 1: Birimian Greenstone Belts – Gold Deposits

Geology & Mineralisation

The geology of West and Central Africa is dominated by Precambrian shields or cratons of Archean and Lower Proterozoic age, Pan-African mobile zones of Upper Proterozoic age and intracratonic sedimentary basins ranging from the Proterozoic to the Quaternary.

Birimian is a term to describe a collection of Paleoproterozoic metasedimentary and metavolcanic units and associated intrusive complexes that are the dominant hosts of gold deposits in West Africa.

Birimian gold mineralisation is often concentrated along the margins of volcanic belts, with mesothermal gold deposits localised along faults and shears that cut through the greenstone sequences, and are defined by zones of alteration and quartz +/- carbonate veining.

Types of Birimian hosted gold deposits

Most Birimian hosted gold deposits occur in corridors 10 to 15 kilometres wide, in the transition zone between volcanic belts and sedimentary basins which are characterized by regionally extensive shear zones. Two major styles of gold mineralisation occur in the Birimian

  • Structurally controlled quartz vein style deposits, and
  • Chemical sediment hosted deposits where gold is associated in selvages to quartz veins.

Commercial mineralisation is dominantly quartz vein-controlled and may be found in a variety of rocks and structural settings with metasediments being the most common host rock, particularly where intruded by felsic dykes and sills. Important mineralisation is also found in intermediate to mafic intrusive volcanic rocks and, volcanoclastic units. Quartz veins may contain both free gold and mineralisation associated with sulphides.

List of mining companies operating within the Birimian Greenstone Belts

Today there are many exploration companies prospecting in West Africa, such as:

List of gold deposits in the Birimian Greenstone Belts:

Deposit Country Contained Ounces
Obuasi Ghana 42,300,000
Tarkwa Ghana 30,000,000
Afaho Ghana 27,127,024
Akyem Ghana 20,300,000
Loulo Mail 18,500,000
Sadiola Mali 18,500,000
Prestea Ghana 10,000,000
Dossi Burkina Faso 9,400,000
Teberbie Ghana 9,200,000
Siguiri Guinea 7,500,000
Mana Burkina Faso 7,100,000
Morila Mali 7,000,000
Inata Burkina Faso 6,700,000
Essakane Burkina Faso 6,200,000
Kiaka Burkina Faso 5,900,000
Konongo Ghana 5,600,000
Bomboré Burkina Faso 5,300,000
Syama Mali 5,200,000
Bissa Hill Burkina Faso 5,100,000
Bibiani Ghana 5,000,000
Chirano Ghana 5,000,000
Tongon Cote d’ivoire 4,500,000
Banfora Ghana 4,500,000
Yatela Mali 4,500,000
Gaoua Burkina Faso 4,400,000
Fekola Mali 4,200,000
Abosso Ghana 4,000,000
Sabodala Mali 4,000,000
Massawa Mali 3,600,000
Bélahouro Burkina Faso 3,500,000
Tabakoto-Segala Mali 3,500,000
Karma Burkina Faso 3,400,000
Konkera Burkina Faso 3,300,000
Bogoso Ghana 3,300,000
Batie West Burkina Faso 3,100,000
Damang Ghana 3,000,000
Obotan Ghana 2,800,000
Samira Hill Burkina Faso 2,500,000
Iduapriem Ghana 2,300,000
Houndé Burkina Faso 2,200,000
Taparko Burkina Faso 2,200,000
Vindaloo Burkina Faso 2,200,000
Natougou Burkina Faso 1,800,000
Youga Burkina Faso 1,600,000
Bonikro Cote d’ivoire 1,300,000
Kalsaka/Sega Burkina Faso 1,200,000
Poura Burkina Faso 1,200,000
Tanlouka Burkina Faso 1,200,000
Salman Ghana 1,200,000
Bouly Burkina Faso 1,100,000
Yaramoko Burkina Faso 1,100,000
Souma Burkina Faso 760,000
Nabanga Burkina Faso 700,000
Mapan Ghana 700,000
Sartenga Burkina Faso 651,000
Ronguen Burkina Faso 500,000
Bondi Burkina Faso 400,000
Kubi Ghana 400,000
Ouare Burkina Faso 300,000
Balogo Burkina Faso 200,000

Source: Company Reports

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