Georgy Smirnov, the new managing director of the Russian gold company, travelled discreetly to Burkina Faso's capital to try and reach an agreement with Ibrahim Traoré's junta on its gold exports and the future of its Taparko, Bissa and Bouly sites.
The Russian mining firm, whose main shareholder Alexey Mordashov is under European sanctions following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, has had to work out new paths to get its Guinean and Burkinabe gold production to refineries in the United Arab Emirates.
Just as world leaders meeting in Germany for the G7 summit look to ban Moscow from exporting gold extracted from its soil, Russian firms have turned to Ankara, where they have found all the necessary expertise to refine and sell gold they have mined abroad, and especially in Africa.
In its efforts to gain sway in the Sahel, Russia is increasingly forging links with Burkina Faso's political and civil society circles. In so doing, it enjoys the unprecedented support of Wahhabist organisations. So far, the government has turned down Wagner's advances.
The West's sanctions on the Russian mining colossus Alrosa, the world's largest diamond producer, are taking a huge toll on Angola, its main partner. That has left the field open for the world's second largest diamond producer, Botswana, to charge ahead.
The gold producer Nordgold, which has just announced the closure of one of its mines in Burkina Faso, claims to have found an alternative solution for refining its African output, which was an early victim of the sanctions targeting Russia and Nordgold's owner, oligarch Alexey Mordashov.