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Mali seizes $8.5 million of gold hidden in car

The 143 kilograms of gold was en route to neighbouring Guinea.

FILE: Picture: AFP.

BAMAKO, Mali - Customs officers in southern Mali have seized gold estimated to be worth seven million euros ($8.5 million) hidden in a car, officials said Monday.

The 143 kilograms of gold was en route to neighbouring Guinea.

Mali's borders are porous and seizures of gold are frequent.

The 88 bars discovered overnight Saturday were "destined to be exported without the knowledge of customs officers, which would have disrupted our economy", said Amidou Fakourou Bakagha, deputy director general of the customs service.

The poor and landlocked country in western Africa is the fifth-biggest gold producer on the continent, according to the World Bank.

Its industrial and small-scale mining makes the precious metal the country's biggest export product, according to the same source.

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