19 Perenti workers slain in Burkina attack

Derek Rose
Burkina Faso has been struggling to suppress an Islamist insurgency since 2015

An Australian mining services company says 19 of its workers were killed in ambush on convoy of mining workers in the West African country of Burkina Faso.

The workers were in a convoy of five buses with an military escort that came under attack with gunfire and explosives on Wednesday, killing at least 37 people and wounding 60.

Perenti Global, the Perth-based company formerly known as Ausdrill, said 19 members of its local workforce from its African Mining Services subsidiary are believed to have been killed and 20 have been hospitalised.

The numbers are yet to be officially confirmed, the company said.

"Our entire organisation is absolutely devastated by this incident and the extensive loss of life and injuries sustained by innocent people," Perenti managing director and chief executive Mark Norwell said.

The workers were heading to the Boungou goldmine, owned by Canadian-based miner Semafo, in the eastern region of Est.

The landlocked country has been dealing with an Islamist insurgency that has spilled over from Mali, to its north, that has killed hundreds.

The ambush was the third on Semafo staff in 15 months.

Perenti said that planning is underway to return the AMS workforce located at the mine to their homes safely.

"Our focus continues to be on supporting and ensuring the safety of our workforce in the region as well as supporting the families of those whose loved ones have been injured or lost," Mr Norwell said.