Mining in West Africa
Minerals produced in West Africa include bauxite, coal, copper, diamonds, gemstones, gold, ilmenite, iron ore, lead, manganese, nickel, phosphate rock, rutile, silver, columbite-tantalite, tin, uranium, zinc and zircon. A large number of companies and artisanal miners are involved in the region’s mining sector. In 2019, West African countries increased exports of minerals by more than 20%. Factors such as low economic growth in major mineral importers, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, inadequate infrastructure, and security risks in some countries, continue to have an impact on the performance of West Africa’s mining sector.
Dozens of companies are actively exploring the region, especially for gold, as West Africa’s gold deposits are generally shallow, which means they can be mined easily and at relatively low costs. In 2018, the region had more than 60 gold mines producing or under construction and hundreds of projects in the economic assessment and exploration stage. However, some challenges include a general lack of skilled workers and inadequate infrastructure such as roads and electricity.
The mining sector has been identified by most countries in the region as a potential catalyst for economic development, and there is a determined effort to develop the sector and to make it more attractive to investors. These include invitations for plans to develop mines and plants, plans to group artisanal miners into cooperatives and the granting of refining licences.
This report focuses on Mining in West Africa and includes information on mining resources and production across the region, trade statistics, developments, corporate actions, pertinent regulation and other influencing factors. There are profiles of 42 companies including major players such as Aluminium Corporation of China, Barrick Gold, and Newmont Mining, as well as AngloGold Ashanti, which restarted production at its Obuasi mine in Ghana, five years after mining was suspended, and Canadian company Iamgold, which has received the mining permit for its Boto gold project in Senegal.