Mali Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources, energy and environment

Mali is one of Africa’s largest gold producers. However, a large part of the gold is illegally mined outside the control of the authorities and smuggled out of the country. Electricity is generated using imported oil and hydropower.

Gold mining has been part of the economy in Mali since the Middle Ages. In modern times, commercial mining began in the 1980s. The search for new gold deposits is ongoing in collaboration with foreign mining companies and several finds have been made since the turn of the millennium.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Mali with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

The think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) warned in 2019 that illegal gold mining has become a major source of income for jihadists and other rebel groups raging in northern and central Mali (see Current Policy). Several mines have been taken over by the armed groups. The ICG estimates that around 700,000 people work in the illegal mining industry in Mali.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, ML stands for Mali. Visit itypeusa for more information about Mali.

Lack of electricity

In Mali, marble, phosphate and uranium are also mined in smaller quantities. There are also reserves of bauxite, iron, manganese, salt, silver, diamonds, copper and nickel. However, because the country lacks ports and has poor transport opportunities, it has not been profitable to extract these deposits so far.

A large part of the energy consumed comes from wood and charcoal. The government encourages oil seekers, as several neighboring countries have found oil near the Malian border. Oil deposits in northern Mali on the border with Mauritania have not yet been recovered due to the armed conflicts in the area.

Mali suffers from a great lack of electricity. Both mining and agriculture demand more electricity. Only a small part of the country is reached by the state electricity grid. More than four out of ten males had access to electricity at the end of the 2010s.

Affected by climate change

When the large hydroelectric power plant at Manantali in a tributary to the Senegal River began to supply electricity in 2001, oil dependency fell sharply, but the ever-increasing demand for electricity now means that imported oil accounts for almost half of electricity generation. The Manantali power plant is operated jointly with Senegal and Mauritania, which are entitled to a minor part of the electricity produced.

Mali strives to increase the share of renewable energy. The goal is for 25 percent of total energy consumption to come from renewable sources in 2033. In the same year, 61 percent of rural residents will have access to electricity. Investments are made mainly on solar energy, but also on wind power and biomass.

Mali is faced with a number of environmental problems, such as soil degradation (desert is spreading) and water pollution. The important Niger River is threatened by overfishing. Climate change contributes to irregular rainfall, more desert storms and increased risk of drought compared to 30 years ago, according to United in Science, which brings together the world’s leading organizations in meteorology and climate research. The governments of the Sahel region have presented joint plans on how to combat the effects of climate change, but these are dependent on external assistance to be realized.


Carbon dioxide emissions in total

1 412 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.1 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

61.5 percent (2015)



Law for women’s rights is stopped

After major popular protests, President TourĂ© chooses not to sign a new law passed by Parliament aimed at strengthening women’s rights. The law would have given women increased inheritance rights, in most cases girls would no longer be allowed to marry before the age of 18 and there would no longer be support in the law for women to obey their husbands. The bill has been severely criticized by Muslim groups who considered it to be Islamic and forced by Western countries. It is returned to Parliament for a review.


Aqim murders Westerners

The Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) announces that a British tourist has been taken hostage. Later, the group also takes on the blame for the murder of an American.


Rebels surrender

The government states that the army has taken control of all the brackets belonging to the fighting Tuareg faction. About 700 rebels surrender and surrender their weapons at a special ceremony in the Northeast. The group states that it will participate in the peace talks.


Rebels killed in the northeast

According to government data, more than 30 rebels are killed, who are said to be members of the only faction of Tuareg warriors who do not participate in peace talks.

Mali Energy and Environment Facts

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