When it comes to the stuff bling is made of, Africa is enormously bountiful. Its mineral deposits make it one of the richest natural-resource-laden places on Earth and everyone wants some. The following are the most mineral-rich countries in Africa.
Botswana – Diamonds
Botswana is home to 35 percent of Africa’s diamonds, most of which are gem quality, and is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. While the country also produces other minerals including copper, gold, nickel, and soda ash, diamonds remain Botswana’s main industry and account for the bulk of its gross domestic product.
Democratic Republic of Congo – Diamonds, Copper
The Democratic Republic of Congo is estimated to have more than $24 trillion worth of untapped raw mineral ore deposits, but even so it remains one of the greatest producers of diamonds (34 percent) and copper (13 percent) in Africa. However, the DRC continues to suffer from corruption and crime, and has been forced to shut down many mining operations to curb illegal activity.
South Africa – Diamonds, Gold, Aluminum, Copper, Platinum, Coal
South Africa has been the richest economy on the continent, in large part thanks to its enormous mining industry. While diamonds and gold constituted the largest portion of South Africa’s initial mining interests, the discovery of many other minerals allowed the country to diversify its investments. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium, and vermiculite, and the second-largest producer of ilmenite, palladium, rutile, and zirconium.
Tanzania – Gold
Though it is the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa, Tanzania earns just under 3 percent of its gross domestic product from the mining industry. Future years may see that number grow as the mining sector expands. Tanzania also has impressive deposits of iron ore, nickel, copper, cobalt, silver, diamond, and more.
Namibia – Uranium
Though Namibia is blessed with a wide variety of mineral resources, its 46 percent of the continent’s uranium stashes helps bring in nearly a quarter of Namibia’s annual income. The mining industry of Namibia is on the rise, and outputs are increasing significantly each year.
Mozambique – Aluminum
Though the mining industry in Mozambique only accounted for 1.5 percent of the country’s economy in 2012, the sector is expected to expand by more than 10 percent in the coming years as coal and gas become more and more widely mined. As it stands now, however, Mozambique is still a critical producer for aluminum, with 32 percent of Africa’s supply.Zambia – Copper
Zambia is home to somewhere between 65 percent to 77 percent of Africa’s copper supply, far and away the leading producer in Africa. With several prolific mines, the country is able to create jobs for its citizens while contributing to the nation’s overall gross domestic product. Being a good conductor of heat, copper is used mostly for electrical wiring in the building construction industries. It’s also alloyed with iron and other metals to make brass and bronze and it’s used to make cook ware.
Guinea – Bauxite (for aluminum)
Guinea is responsible for more than 95 percent of Africa’s bauxite production, while Ghana accounts for the remainder. An aluminum ore, bauxite is crucial for aluminum production. In 2005, Guinea was the only African producer of alumina — synthetically produced aluminum oxide –– and the country continues to hold its critical place in helping with the world aluminum demand.
Niger – Uranium
With 44 percent of Africa’s uranium supply, Niger is one of the continent’s leading producers. Exports of minerals account for more than 40 percent of Niger’s exports. Though Niger also mines for cement, coal, goal, gypsum, limestone, salt, silver, and tin, its northern Agadez Region — a desert just northeast of Niamey — is known for its large uranium deposits, and has had mines operating in the area since 1971. Since it is naturally radioactive, uranium is most commonly used in the nuclear power industry to generate electricity.
Ghana – Gold
Ghana’s export trade is significantly bolstered by its mineral riches — 37 percent of total exports are minerals. Ghana is Africa’s second-largest producer of gold after South Africa, and holds more than 15 percent of the continent’s supply. Of the country’s mineral exports, gold contributes more than 90 percent. Ghana has also begun exploring further when it comes to mining its bauxite, manganese, and diamond reserves, but gold remains the focus.