The African continent is well-known for being a great resource for minerals. In fact, it prides itself on being the home to most of the precious minerals in the world. Many economies in the continent are sustained by the minerals. The following are the 10 African minerals of highest economic value
1. Oil & Gas
Petroleum oil and natural gas is the driving force behind many economies in the continent. Without it many countries would be in a not-so-good position economically and also socially. Countries such as Nigeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Liberia lead the pack of the countries with big reserves of oil and natural gas.
Gold is the most mined resource in Africa. It accounts for approximately 21% of the World total. Gold which ranks among the top 10 most valuable minerals in the world is mined in several countries. These include South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and many other countries. South Africa is largest producer in the world and also the strongest economy in the continent.
African countries greatly contribute to the world’s share of natural diamonds. It accounts for approximately 46% of the global production. The precious stone which features among the top 5 most valuable minerals has contributed to improved GDP and per Capita income in many regions. Top producers comprise of Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Botswana and DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). Botswana accounts for 22% while the DRC caters for 20% of the total output.
Although it only accounts for about 6% of the production in the World, copper as a mineral forms the backbone of many economies in the African continent. Zambia is the top producer in the continent. It is ranked as the 5th top producer in the entire world. Other countries that rely on the mineral include DRC and Guinea.
Large deposits of coal are found in Africa. This essential mineral is used in industries for heating. Also, it is used in production of electricity in many regions worldwide. Top producers in the region include South Africa, Egypt, Mozambique, Botswana, Malawi, Niger, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania. In Tanzania it exists alongside Natural Gas in Songosongo mines.
6. Platinum – Group Metals
Africa ranks among the top two producers of Platinum and its related metals such as palladium. Its overall productions cater for about 75% of the world’s output. The leading producer in the continent is South Africa whose total outputs accounts for almost 96% of Africa’s total. Other producers include Zimbabwe that is placed second after South Africa.
Many African countries also depend on Uranium. This mineral is used in many applications. However, the most known is enriching fuel used in nuclear power plants. As of 2013, the output from Africa accounted for about 17% of the World’s total. South Africa, Niger and Namibia are main producers. Namibia is the top producer in Africa and the 4th largest in the world. Its production stands at 30%. Niger is second in Africa (27%) and 5th globally. South Africa takes the third position in the continent.
The total amount of Aluminium produced in Africa contributes 5% of the global production. The production has been increasing over time as new discoveries are made. Furthermore, additional smelters are added to boost production. The top producer in the region is South Africa taking 48% of the African total. Mozambique comes second with 32%, while Egypt accounts for 14%.Other producers include Cameroon and Ghana.
Bauxite holds a special place in the economy of Guinea. It is one of the main earners of foreign exchange. The country has very large reserves that account for about 8% of the world’s output. Besides the Bauxite, the quality of iron-ore produced at the various mines is also ranked among the best globally.
10. Iron and Steel
Many economies in Africa depend on their iron and steel reserves. The ore is either refined locally or exported to overseas market. The main market is Asia more so China. Europe is the other market. Countries that top the list of the largest producers include South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Libya.
The above list completes the 10 African minerals of highest economic value. While it is true that they contribute largely to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and per Capita Income, they have also brought a lot of political, social and economic instability in many regions. This has led to lots of bloodshed in certain regions such as Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Sudan and many other countries.