Australian businesses will have the chance to explore trade and investment opportunities in West Africa during a mining mission led by Austrade. According to Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson, fast-growing nations of West Africa offer a number of business opportunities to Australian exploration, mining and mining services companies. "Australian mining services companies recognise the opportunities of Africa, but this mission provides them with actual exposure to the mines and broader market conditions," he said. "This is in keeping with the refocusing in Austrade on emerging and frontier markets, where Australian companies often have more difficulty with market access and intelligence," he added. Emerson said those companies taking part in the mission will have the opportunity to meet mine managers and see for themselves the potential for their goods and services. Austrade and Austmine, which represents Australia’s mining equipment, technology and services industries, worked together to organise the 10-day business mission. Delegates will visit mines in Ghana and Burkina Faso and briefed on the mining sector and other aspects of commercial life in West Africa. West Africa is currently experiencing a period of stability and prosperity, in recognition of this and seeing the potential for Aussie businesses, the Government is expanding its presence there. Austrade plans to open a post in Accra, Ghana and the Government announced in May it would open an embassy in Dakar, Senegal. Australian companies have about 90 resource projects in West Africa and about US$50 billion actual or committed investment in Africa. Ghana is Africa’s second-largest gold producer after South Africa and has more than 10 operating gold mines while Burkina Faso’s six operating gold mines make it Africa’s fourth-largest producer of gold.