Minerals are natural elements or combinations of natural elements that occur in the environment. Minerals (such as iron and copper) are often valuable resources that are extremely important to man in the making of the things that he needs, while some minerals (such as diamonds) are ornamental. Most minerals are found in the soil, making them a part of the topography of the environment.
Some minerals (like uranium) are very valuable because they can be harnessed into weaponry, while others (such as lithium) are used as power sources. It is an accepted custom to exclude crude oil when listing minerals, and so this list excludes African countries whose main natural resource is petroleum.
The following information is a compilation of African Countries with the largest deposits in solid minerals. We want to know what countries, as a matter of natural endowment, have potentially self-sustaining wealth hidden in the ground just waiting to be tapped. Without any further ado, we now give you the top 10 African countries by mineral deposits.
Top 10 Richest Countries In Minerals In Africa
1. Niger Republic
The Niger Republic is a West African country that is rich in uranium, coal, cement, and gold. This country has is the site of one of the largest underground mines in the world. In that mine, uranium is extracted. It is, therefore, no surprise that uranium brings in the biggest chunk of Niger’s national income. Niger supplies 44% of African uranium all over the world. Being a naturally radioactive mineral, uranium is useful in generating nuclear energy, and yes, nuclear weapons. As long as there are still political tensions in this world, and countries are still struggling to gain military advantage over other nations, then it is reasonable to say that the market for uranium will continue to boom. Anyway, Niger also has many other useful minerals such as coal, gold, and cement.
Namibia is a southern African country that is rich in minerals like uranium, diamonds, zinc, lead, sulphur, salt, tantalite, and copper. Here is another country that is on the rich list as a result of having huge deposits of uranium. In fact, Namibia proudly holds fourth place in the world as far as supplying uranium is concerned. China’s biggest investment on the African continent is in Namibia, where they have invested heavily in a mining company, producing uranium.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo which is also known as Congo DRC is a central African country that is rich in copper, cobalt, diamond, gold, and tin. DRC has one of the richest deposits of mineral resources in Africa, and we must not forget that there is a lot of oil production going on there as well. There are over 30 foreign mining enterprises functioning in the country.
Zambia is an East African country with ample deposits of copper, emerald, and cobalt. If copper ruled the world then Zambia would be king. It is known for being a number one copper producer and supplier – it produces 77% of African copper. Zambia even has a whole region dedicated to the production of copper: Copperbelt, as the place is called. Also, this country has the biggest underground mine on the whole continent, the mine is a corporation by itself, with 10,000 workers. Other minerals in the country are emerald and cobalt.
5. South Africa
South Africa is built on gold! As a matter of fact, the city of Johannesburg which is now a major city in the world was founded on the back of a gold rush. The South African economy is still tied with gold despite the best efforts of the government to diversify the economy. Even as you read this post the South African Rand rises and falls with the price of gold on the international market. There are also large amounts of diamonds deposited in South Africa, and other less mentioned minerals in the country are platinum, copper, uranium, vanadium, coal, chromium, iron, zirconium, nickel, and many others. South Africa is not just rich because of items found under the ground; the country is rich in human capacity, industry, trade, manufacturing, banking, and retail commerce.
Mozambique is an African country that is rich in aluminum. Unfortunately, most of the country’s income is generated by exploiting natural resources under the ground, but at least Mozambique has a diverse array of minerals bringing in money to the center. The biggest source of money in the country remains aluminum. The annual production is approximately 580,000 tons, which is huge for a solid mineral. It is therefore not surprising that it constitutes 30% of the country’s exports. Aside from aluminum, the country also exports beryllium and tantalum to destinations all over the world. Mozambican soil is rich in limestone, which is a key ingredient in the manufacture of cement. There are also marble, gemstones, coals, iron, gold, oil, gas, and iron.
Guinea is on of the richest countries in minerals in Africa, the African country that is rich in bauxite, the raw material from which aluminum is made. Guinea clearly holds leadership in having bauxite deposits although it somehow falls behind Mozambique in terms of production of Aluminum. Guinea produces 95% of the entire bauxite production of Africa. The country is closely followed by Mozambique and Ghana respectively.
Tanzania is an African country that is rich in tanzanite, gold, diamonds, and silver. As a matter of fact, the country produces gold on an impressively large scale. Tanzania ranks as the fourth richest country in Africa in terms of gold deposits. In Tanzania, they have standard mines, constructed to enhance investment and development of their resources, but intelligently they have not forgotten to develop other areas of their economy as well. Agriculture is a large contributor to the economy of the country.
Ghana is a West African country that is rich in gold, bauxite, diamonds, manganese, crude oil, silver, and salt. Ghana was once called the Gold Coast because of the immense natural deposits of precious metal. The country has long been in trade with the Arabs who covet the resource, as well as the Portuguese, before the British. Currently, Ghana is the second-largest producer of gold in Africa- only second to South Africa. There are about 90 enterprises that specialize in gold mining in the country.
Botswana is an African country that is rich in diamonds, copper, coal, soda ash, and nickel. This is another African country whose economy highly depends on mining. Botswana has huge resources of gem diamonds, which is the main focus of its export. Apart from diamonds, the country is also leading in coal production- that is not a course for celebration because most countries are turning away from coal.
Generally speaking, exploitation of mineral reserves passes through processes that can potentially change the environment forever. It is therefore a wise course of action to pursue other avenues of revenue generation that may not require the extensive destruction of the environment. In the long run, agriculture is better than mining, hydroelectricity is better than nuclear energy, and tourism is better than timber logging. The emphasis is on preservation rather than destruction, and long-term development rather than short-term gains.