World Leader in Manganese
Independence: 17 August 1960
Area: 267,667 km2
Mining fact: In the 1970s, uranium was mined in Gabon to supply the French nuclear power industry. During this time, the Oklo reactor zone was discovered. Oklo was active around two billion years ago and is the only natural nuclear fission reactor on Earth.
The mining industry in Gabon has undergone some development, and the country is known for its oil, mineral and metal exports. The government owns all rights to minerals in Gabon. The manganese deposits in Moanda, Gabon are some of the richest in the world and contribute to Gabon being a world leader in manganese mining and production. Manganese mining is one of the most important income generators in the country. It is estimated that the manganese reserves in Gabon will last another 100 years.
History of Gabon Mining
Known as being the wealthiest of the former French Equatorial African colonies in mineral deposits, Gabon has been producing several millions of tons of manganese for several years. In 2004, around 2.4 million metric tons of ore was mined. In 2006, licenses were issued for a 4,000-meter diamond drilling program on Ndjole and Mevang, which was launched by Silver Bull Resources, Inc. in collaboration with AngloGold Ashanti after diamond discoveries were made. In 2012, BHP Billiton began developing a second manganese deposit. Iron ore was discovered as early as 1895, but the first commercial mining license for iron ore was only issued in 1955.
Manganese Mining in Gabon
Currently, Gabon manganese reserves are estimated to be around 250 million tons with a metal content of between 48% and 52%. Production is limited to 2.8 million tons per annum, which corresponds to the capacity of the local cableway used to transport the mined manganese to the Congo nearby.
Gold Mining in Gabon
Over 350 gold deposits have been reported in Gabon. This includes three types of geological groups. These deposits have tremendous potential for mining and manufacturing but a lack of adequate infrastructure prevents major exploration from taking place.
Iron Ore Mining in Gabon
Several iron ore deposits exist around Gabon, including the substantial Belinga and Mekambo deposits as well as Lobi-Lobi, Monts M’bilan, Mebaga-Ngama and Koumbi Magnima. The iron fields of Belinga and Mekambo are considered as some of the wealthiest in the world. There are estimated reserves of as much as a billion tons with an ore content of up to 65%. This could potentially yield 20 million tons of iron ore per year. Again, a lack of infrastructure prevents the industry from reaching its full potential.
Mining Companies Operating in GabonThe mining sector in Gabon is well developed and several mining companies are operational in the country, including:
• BHP Billiton
• Nouvelle Gabon Mining
• Silver Bull Resources, Inc.
• AngloGold Ashanti
• Southern Era
• Moanda Mine