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The African mining market produces more than 60 metal and mineral products and is a major producer of several of the world's most important 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, the African mining market hosts approximately 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.
Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Zambia and the DRC dominate the African mining market, 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.
North Africa, which includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, is the largest phosphate producing region in Africa, region accounted for almost 20% of the global phosphate production in 2011. The region's rich phosphate industry is expected to see investments exceeding $5 billion during the next decade, with the majority of investments planned to improve the region's infrastructure and development of new mines.
The introduction of a new mining law in 2013 and government implementation of fresh trade policies are key initiatives that will help Morocco's phosphate mining industry almost double in size by the end of the decade. The growing demand for phosphate in the international market to play a major part in seeing production increase from last year's total of 28.1 million metric tons (MMt) to 55 MMt by 2020.
In addition to this, Tunisia, which produces around 6% of the region's phosphate, is expected to attract investments of up to $1 billion for the development of Bir El Afou Phosphate project, expected to start in 2013. Celamin Ltd, which owns the majority stake in the project, expects to produce around 1.5 million metric tons (MMt) of phosphate from the project.
Central Africa's mining industry is expected to grow rapidly due to the gold, iron ore and bauxite deposits identified in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This region, which includes Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon, accounted for 53% of global cobalt mine production, 43% of the global industrial diamond production, 10.7% of global manganese output, and 2.7% of global copper mine production, in 2011. Around five major viable mining projects valued at over $11 billion are identified in this region, with Cameroon being the major investment destination.
For more information on the African mining market, see the latest research: African Mining Market
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