Africa, the 2nd biggest continent in world in terms of area has an enormous quantity of natural resources. The continent’s mineral reserves alone forms 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources. Besides Oil and Gas, the region is richly endowed with a variety of mineral deposits comprising of both precious minerals (gold, silver and platinum) and less valued but highly sought base metals like Iron, lead, nickel, zinc which are utilized in everyday life. For many countries in Africa, mineral exploration remains keys to economic growth.
Oil and Gas
The region is home to five of the world’s top 30 oil-producing countries namely Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. These countries also account for 85% of the continent’s oil production. Other oil-producing nations include Sudan, Chad, South, Sudan, Gabon, Congo, Eritrea, Tanzania, Ghana, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Iviore, Madagascar, Mozambique, Kenya.
Proven oil reserves in the region have grown by almost 150 percent, increasing from 53.4 billion barrels since 1980, to 130.3 billion barrels by the end of 2012.
Gemstone diamonds are used mainly for jewelry or investment purposes. Industrial diamonds are however mostly used in procedures like cutting, grinding, drilling and polishing. Botswana, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo are among the leading producers of diamonds in the world. Other diamond producing nations Angola, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lesotho, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Tanzania and Togo.
*raw uncut rough diamond*
Gold’s qualities make it one of the most coveted metals in the world and it is still an important driver in the financial world. For many years until 2006, South Africa was the world’s largest producer of gold. Now South Africa ranks as the 7th largest producer of Gold in the world with Ghana ranking as the 11th. Other gold producing nations in the region are Tanzania, Mali, Guinea, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Niger, Côte d’Iviore, Congo, Mauritania,
Benin, Burkina Faso,
Copper , an excellent conductor of electricity is an extremely useful industrial metal because it is ductile and malleable. in it pure form, copper is turned into wires and cables for power transmission, building wiring, transformer wiring among others.
The fifth largest copper producer in the world is the Democratic Republic of Congo. Though the DRC does not have the highest production rate, the second largest copper reserves in the world can be found there. Many african nations contribute to copper prodution and have undeveloped ore resources. Few of these are South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia.
Platinum is probably best known for being extensively used in jewelry, but its primary use is in catalytic converters for diesel engines in vehicles which account for about 50% of its demand. Platinum is the rarest and most expensive of the popular precious metal. Platinum is also used in the chemicals industry as a catalyst for the production of nitric acid, silicone and benzene. It is also used as a catalyst to improve the efficiency of fuel cells. Other uses for platinum include computer hard disks, thermocouples, optical fibers and LCDs, turbine blades, spark plugs, pacemakers and dental fillings. South Africa is the world’s largest platinum producer, producing more than twice as much as every other country’s production put together. Zimbabwe also produces a significant amount of platinum.
An aluminum ore, is predominantly mined in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon, Mozambique, south Africa. The largest producer of Bauxite in Africa is Guinea and it ranks as number 5 producer in the world.(USG survey). Other aluminium producing countries are Egypt, Cameroon, and South Africa.
Africa being the second largest continent with 30million km2 of land means large quantity of resources. Besides those listed above other minerals explored in the continent include Lead, Manganese, Graphites, Palladium, Pozzolana, Titanium, Copper, Coal, Iron ore, Nickel, Cobalt, Uranium and Zinc. Other valuable resources are Salt, Cocoa, Tobacco, and tropical fruits. All these place the continent in a strategic position thus making it a key territory in the global map. The region has become the fastest growing region for foreign direct investment.
http://www.miningafrica.net, ‘exploring the natural wealth of Africa
http://www.geology.com, ‘Diamond’ Hobert M. King, Ph.D, GJA graduate, Gemelogist