The Africa Mining Sector produces over 60 metal and mineral products and is a key producer of several of the world’s most critical minerals and metals including Gold, PGE’s, Diamonds, Uranium, Manganese, Chromium, Nickel, Bauxite and Cobalt.
It is interesting to note that Africa’s contribution to the world’s major metals (copper, lead and zinc) is less than 7%. As a result silver production is low (less than 3% of the world’s production) due to the fact that most silver is produced as a by product of lead – zinc and copper mining. Although underexplored, Africa hosts about 30% of the planet’s mineral reserves, including 40% of gold, 60% cobalt and 90% of the world’s PGM reserves – making it a truly strategic producer of these precious metals.
The increase in exploration and mine development in Africa has been primarily focussed on gold and diamond exploration. Undoubtedly, there is still great scope for these commodities, but riding on the back of improving base metal prices, this sector could see an increase in activities. Mozambique, Nigeria and Madagascar are but a few countries that have tremendous potential for base metal and industrial mineral deposits.
South Africa, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and the DRC dominate the African Mining industry, whilst countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana rely heavily on the mining industry as a major foreign currency earner. Unfortunately, several African civil wars are funded by (and often caused by) some of these commodities, in particular diamonds.
Major new mines opening in Africa or under development are distributed between South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, and Gabon producing gold, diamonds, niobium products, PGE’s, chrome and base metals. Major discoveries over the last year include the discovery of several potentially diamondiferous kimberlites in Mauritania, and still in the diamond scene, the potential marine deposits in offshore southern Namibia.