Destruction of vehicles “by the French” in Mali or Burkina Faso? Warning intoxication!

Cars destroyed by French soldiers leaving Mali? Or the fact that the French refused to mine in Burkina Faso could be the reason for the incident? Here are two captions accompanying the video, which has been circulating on Twitter and Facebook since November 13, 2022. The scene actually took place at the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso, but it is an Australian company under a mining contract. destroyed these cars, which were considered useless.

Validation in one word

  • As of November 13, 2022, French, Arabic, and English-language Twitter and Facebook accounts shared videos showing cars being destroyed. They claim that the “French” are behind these demolitions.
  • Some publications claim that the incident took place in Mali as part of the completion of the Barkhane operation, while others place it at the Perkoa zinc mine in Burkina Faso.
  • According to the Burkinabé Ministry of Energy, Mines and Quarries, the video was shot at the Perkoa mine, which shut down in April 2022 after deadly floods.
  • It was not the “French” who destroyed some of their machines, but representatives of the Australian company Byrnecut, the subcontractor responsible for the operation of the mine.
  • As for the causes of such destruction, it is impossible to determine them with certainty at this stage. The subcontractor and the mine owner did not want to answer our questions. Official Burkinabè sources claim that the vehicles were deemed “unsafe”.

Check details

This is a video shared by several legends. We see two pickup trucks destroyed by a demolition truck. Several men in work clothes come to the scene. “Good job!” (“Nice job!”), the videographer seems to shout at the end of the sequence.

A scene that happened to some in Mali. “The end of the barque in Mali, the French destroy everything they own because they didn’t bring it home.” (sic), is written in the title this Twitter post November 14, viewed over 6,000 times.

A screenshot of a tweet from November 14, 2022, claims that the destruction of these vehicles took place as part of the end of Operation Barkhane in Mali. © Observers

For other users, this video has nothing to do with Operation Barkhane, a military operation launched by the French military in 2014 to fight jihadist groups in the Sahel and Sahara, which ended on November 9 and was officially announced by Emmanuel Macron.

These accounts claim the French are behind the destruction, but the video was filmed in another West African country. “The reaction of the French before they leave Burkina Faso: the managers of the Perkoa mine in Burkina destroy their vehicles before leaving,” we can read in a Facebook post dated November 14, 2022, with more than 450 shares.

This Twitter post Retweeted nearly 7,000 times in English, it also claims the scene took place at the Perkoa mine, a now-closed zinc mine in central Burkina Faso. This tweet in ArabicShares more than 5,000 times, but also provides a similar title.

A screenshot of a tweet from November 14, 2022, claiming that the destruction of these vehicles was carried out by the French from the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso.
A screenshot of a tweet from November 14, 2022, claiming that the destruction of these vehicles was carried out by the French from the Perkoa mine in Burkina Faso. © Observers

A mine owned by Canadians and subcontracted to Australians

The scene at the site of the “Perkoa industrial mine” reported by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Quarries to the Council of Ministers dated November 16, 2022 went well. You can find this report from the Council following a mission sent on the ground by Ministers and the Burkinabe government on November 13 to “discuss with those responsible for the mine”.

He also indicated that the destroyed vehicles belonged to “a subcontractor of Nantou mining SA, in this case Byrnetcut SARL”.

We can also note that the logo on the cars in the video matches the Byrnecut logo.

According to many accounts, this video shows cars being destroyed by the French before leaving Burkina Faso or Mali.  But it is the Australian company that destroys its cars in this sequence.
According to many accounts, this video shows cars being destroyed by the French before leaving Burkina Faso or Mali. But it is the Australian company that destroys its cars in this sequence. © Observers

But contrary to what many publications claim, it was not the French who were responsible for the mine. Opened in 2013, the Perkoa mine is 10% owned by the Burkinabe province and 90% by Canada’s Trevaly Mining, which operates it through its subsidiary Nantou Mining.

Since 2016, Nantou Mining itself uses a subcontractor for mining and zinc production: Australia’s Byrnecut. This is what you can read on their website.

Contacted by the editorial staff of France 24 Observers, Elie Kabore, director of publications of the Mines Actu Burkina website, confirms that there is no connection between this mine and the French operators, adding:

“No mines in Burkina Faso are exploited by the French. The French are in charge of transport, logistics, hydrocarbons, explosives… Canadians, Australians, and Russians manage the mines.”

Expired cars?

But why did Byrnekut destroy these tools?

According to the delegation sent by the government, the reason for their destruction was the condition of the vehicles.

“Apparently, according to mine officials, six vehicles were indeed destroyed in accordance with the company’s end-of-life vehicle management policy.” we can read the report of the Council of Ministers mentioned above.

However, no additional data were provided to support this hypothesis.

When repeatedly contacted by France 24 Observers editorial staff, the Australian company refused to answer our questions. In the absence of actual evidence, it is difficult to determine exactly what caused the destruction of these vehicles.

Mine in judicial liquidation

The former employees of “Nantou Mining” contacted by our editors also refused to talk because the company is currently in the phase of compulsory liquidation.

On October 6, 2022, the parent company Trivali Mining actually requested the compulsory liquidation of its subsidiary Nantou Mining, which was accepted on November 14, 2022, you can read in one of the press releases. “The liquidator has taken over the management of Nantou Mining’s affairs and Trevali no longer has operational control over Nantou Mining or the Perkoa mine,” it said.

The cancellation follows deadly floods in April 2022 that caused the mine to close. Eight miners found themselves trapped more than 700 meters deep, with torrential rains flooding the underground galleries.

After the tragedy, Nantou Mining’s general manager and Byrnecut Burkina’s director of operations was also convicted of manslaughter in September 2022 and sentenced to a suspended prison sentence.

Byrnekut, originally appointed as a subcontractor until 2023, has thus seen his contract cancelled.

Vehicles being destroyed to prevent jihadists from returning them?

Another theory has appeared on social media that explains the destruction of these tools. Some publications claim that the company would try to prevent them from falling into the hands of jihadist groups. “Given the history of mining vehicles involved in terrorist incidents after decommissioning, the mine’s policy is not to dispose of these vehicles,” read a Facebook post dated November 13, 2022.

Elie Kabore from Mine Actu Burkina media expressed doubts. “The area where the jihadists are located is more than 200 kilometers from the Perkoa mine,” he explains. As can be seen from the maps published by Le Monde newspaper on October 4, 2022, the areas of activity of Islamist groups are located in the north of Burkina Faso, and the Perkoa mine is located in the center of the country, in a relatively safe area. ..

However, the journalist emphasizes the unprecedented nature of these destructions and wonders about the legality of such an operation.

“The mining code envisages that equipment used in mines should benefit from tax benefits at the customs level and pay less tax. After that, customs require that this material not leave the site, but only be used for this purpose. If the equipment has entered the territory with this status, it is likely that Byrnecut cannot destroy the equipment without the opinion of the customs authority.

The government ordered further investigations into the tax status of the vehicles to see if these scraps are compliant with the rules, as read in the report of the Council of Ministers dated 16 November 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *