The future of mining in Senegal
The mining industry of Senegal has been dormant for the greater part of the 20th century. From the 1960s to 2000, the extraction of phosphate was the major earner of revenue in mining. In 2005, the mining sector of Senegal expanded to encompass the exploration of base metals such as iron ore. At present, Senegal boasts of the 3rd largest heavy mineral sands deposit with a major operation which commenced December 13, 2012.
Major discoveries of gold, copper and cobalt deposits have been made in recent years. Mr Ousmane Cisse, the Senegalese Director of Mines and Geology explained that gold deposits have been discovered in Kedugu, located in the eastern part of Senegal.
Senegal is home to regional headquarters to a number of multinational corporations due to its well developed infrastructure as well as political stability. “Senegal is the jewel of West Africa, it is the most stable country in the region and have many companies with their headquarters here even thought they don’t operate out of Senegal”, Mr Cisse reiterated.
“A Social Mining Programme was set up in 2008 in conjunction with the World Bank to encourage the move from social to economically viable mining for local small scale miners. This programme has empowered miners to generate revenue by equipping them with the necessary skills to mine efficiently,” said Mr Cisse
|Senegalese President, Macky Sall|
The future of mining in Senegal certainly looks bright and is set to contribute significantly to GDP growth as well as socio-economic development by 2017-2020.
“The iron ore deposits in Senegal are linked to large infrastructure development projects such as the development of 400km of railroad as well as the reconstruction of 350km more. There will also be a new harbor to be constructed for the transportation minerals to exports markets. Furthermore, railways from mines across the country to the existing port of Darkar are in the pipeline”, said Mr Cisse.
In order to encourage foreign and local investment into the mining sector, the government of Senegal is in the process of setting up a mining consortium to promote the issuing of exploration licenses. The arm of government will aim to minimize bureaucracy in the acquisition of information related to the mining industry in order to create a conducive environment for investors.
The government of Senegal is also promoting the value addition of minerals within the country with the aim of creating employment and generating business for small businesses offering services to the mining industry. This will also promote growth in other economic sectors such as agriculture where minerals such as phosphate are consumed.