Australian businesses will explore trade and investment opportunities in West Africa during an Austrade-led mining mission to Ghana and Burkina Faso that starts today.
Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson said fast-growing countries of West Africa offered business opportunities to Australian exploration, mining and mining services companies.
Demand for skilled workers in mines, as well as in agriculture and infrastructure, also pointed to a potential role for Australia's international education institutions, he said.
"Australian mining services companies recognise the opportunities of Africa, but this mission gives them actual exposure to the mines and broader market conditions," Dr Emerson said.
"This is in keeping with the refocusing in Austrade on emerging and frontier markets, where Australian companies often have more difficulty with market access and intelligence.
"Companies taking part in this mission will meet mine managers and see for themselves the potential for their goods and services," he said.
Austrade and Austmine, which represents Australia's mining equipment, technology and services industries, worked together to organise the 10-day business mission.
Delegates will visit mines in Ghana and Burkina Faso and be briefed on the mining sector and other aspects of commercial life in West Africa.
West Africa is enjoying a period of stability and prosperity. Recognising this, and the potential of the region for Australian businesses, the Government is expanding its presence there.
Dr Emerson in March announced Austrade would open a post in Accra, Ghana. The Government also announced in May it would open an embassy in Dakar, Senegal.
Australian companies have about 90 resource projects in West Africa. Australian investment in Africa, actual or committed, stands at more than US$50 billion.
Ghana is Africa's second-largest gold producer after South Africa, and has more than 10 operating gold mines. Burkina Faso's six operating gold mines make it Africa's fourth-largest producer of gold.
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