The trade in minerals continues to be a major part of many African economies.

The trade in minerals continues to be a major part of many African economies.

Africa is renowned for its vast deposits of minerals : the 8 largest projects currently being undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa,

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Africa is renowned for its vast deposits of minerals, in fact the continent as a whole has over one third of all the mineral reserves in the world, and two thirds of all the diamond reserves in the world. It is therefore no surprise that the trade in diamonds, copper, gold and numerous other minerals is a major part of many African economies.

The 8 largest projects currently being undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa are:

1. Guinea – Simandou Project

The cost of the project is forecast to be US$20 billion, this high cost is due in part to the fact the surrounding infrastructure is very poor and as a result the construction of a 400-mile railway and a port are included in the forecast.

The mine is in the Southern part of Guinea and has approximately 2.25 billion tons of iron, making it the world’s largest iron ore mine. Commercial production is expected to begin in 2019 and the project has the potential of doubling Guinea’s current gross domestic product (GDP).


2. Democratic Republic of Congo – Kamoa Copper Project

The project began in July 2014 and is forecast to cost US$1.2 billion with commercial production due to begin in 2017.

The mine has deposits of approximately 43.5 million tons of copper and is expected to be able to remain operational of 30 years

3. Democratic Republic of Congo – Tenke Fungurume Project

The reserves of copper-cobalt found here are the world’s largest, making it necessary for and the project to be split into two phases. The first phase began in 2006 at the cost of US$1.8 billion, and included the construction of a processing plant and three open pit mines capable of producing 8,000 tons of cobalt metal and 115,000 tons of copper cathode every year.

4. Zambia – Lumwana Mine

This is one of the largest copper mines in the whole of Africa, with deposits of more than 3.3 billion pounds of copper. Production began in December 2008 at the cost of US$320 million and the current mining license held by Equinox Minerals is valid for 25 years.

5. Angola – Catoca Diamond Mine

This mine produces 6% of the world’s total diamonds every year, making it the world’s 5th largest diamond mine. Production began in 1993 and it is currently producing circa 6.7 million ct of diamonds each year.

6. Namibia – Rossing Uranium Project

This open pit mine began production in 1979 and now produces almost 8% of the world’s total uranium every year, making it the world’s 5th largest uranium oxide mine.

7. South Africa – Venetia Diamond Mine

Initial exploration began in 1992 at the cost of US$400 million and the mine has a lifespan of over 20 years. This is currently South Africa’s largest open diamond mine however a project costing US$2 billion to convert the operation to an underground mine began in 2015. The new underground mine is due for completion in 2021.

8: Botswana – Jwaneng Diamond Mine

This open pit mine began production in 1982 and is the world’s 8th largest diamond mine. It produces approximately 11 million ct of diamonds which is almost 70% of Botswana’s total revenue from the exportation of diamonds.

Africa’s rich deposits of minerals continue to be exploited

Numerous substantial projects continue to be identified across Africa, and a number of these projects are so significant in size that they can not only also dramatically improve the infrastructure in the surrounding areas, but in some cases actually result in the development of new cities.

Pictures : cloudfront.net, theguardian.com and The Telegraph

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