The mineral industry of Africa is one of the largest mineral industries in the world. Africa is the second biggest continent, with 30 million km² of land, which implies large quantities of resources. For many African countries, mineral exploration and production constitute significant parts of their economies and remain keys to economic growth. Africa is richly endowed with mineral reserves and ranks first or second in quantity of world reserves of bauxite, cobalt, industrial diamond, phosphate rock, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite, and zirconium. Gold mining is Africa’s main mining resource.
The Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC), one of Africa’s primary mining enterprises, is criticized for its unregulated environmental impact and minimal social stewardship.
African mineral reserves rank first or second for bauxite, cobalt, diamonds, phosphate rocks, platinum-group metals (PGM), vermiculite, and zirconium. Many other minerals are present in quantity. The 2005 share of world production from African soil was bauxite 9%; aluminium 5%; chromite 44%; cobalt 57%; copper 5%; gold 21%; iron ore 4%; steel 2%; lead (Pb) 3%; manganese 39%; zinc 2%; cement 4%; natural diamond 46%; graphite 2%; phosphate rock 31%; coal 5%; mineral fuels (including coal) & petroleum 13%; uranium 16%.
The mineral industry is an important source of export earnings for many African nations. To promote exports, groups of African countries have formed numerous trade blocs, which included the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa, the Economic Community of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African States, the Mano River Union, the Southern African Development Community, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. Algeria, Libya, and Nigeria were members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The African Union was formally launched as a successor to the Organization of African Unity in 2002 to accelerate socioeconomic integration and promote peace, security, and stability on the continent.