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UPDATE 1-B2Gold says Mali political situation 'headed in right direction'

(Adds detail, background)

Sept 21 (Reuters) - Gold miner B2Gold on Monday sought to reassure investors that Mali’s political situation was improving after a military coup last month hit shares in the company and other Mali-focused miners.

Shares in B2Gold and other miners in the West African country, including Barrick Gold, AngloGold Ashanti and Hummingbird Resources, slid on the day of the coup but the companies said their operations were unaffected by the political upheaval.

“The political situation is headed in the right direction,” B2Gold CEO Clive Johnson told the Gold Forum Americas conference on Monday.

“The new military leadership is ... working closely with the business community and others to make this a seamless transition.”

Retired colonel Bah Ndaw was named interim president of Mali on Monday while Colonel Assimi Goita, the leader of the junta that seized power on Aug. 18, was appointed vice president.

It was unclear whether the appointments would satisfy the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has threatened to impose a total embargo on landlocked Mali if its conditions are not met.

B2Gold expects its Fekola mine in Mali to produce between 590,000 and 620,000 ounces of gold this year, according to the company’s website, up from 455,810 ounces in 2019.

Earlier on Monday Kinross Gold said it sees a very low risk of political unrest spreading from Mali to its northern neighbour Mauritania, where the Canadian company has a gold mine it plans to expand.

Reporting by Helen Reid and Jeff Lewis Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Goodman

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