Editorial Feature

Cote D’Ivoire: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Cote D’Ivoire is located in Western Africa between Liberia and Ghana. The total area of the country is 322,463 km2 with a population of 21,952,093 as of July 2012. Its climatic condition is mostly tropical.

The national flag of Cote D’Ivoire.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

Since its independence in 1960, Cote D’Ivoire has witnessed years of civil wars and political turmoil, resulting in withdrawal of foreign investment and the slowdown of economic progress.

Cote D’Ivoire has a variety of natural resources including diamonds, petroleum, natural gas, copper, gold, manganese, iron ore, cobalt, bauxite, nickel, tantalum, and silica sand.

However, the mining industry does not play a significant role in the economy and the economy relies more on coffee and cocoa production and export. The country's climate and international prices are major factors that affect the economy. The GDP of the country as of 2011 was $36.53 billion.

Overview of Resources

Many of Cote D’Ivoire’s mineral resources are not exploited due to political instability and lack of direction and investment. Mineable commodities such as bauxite, cobalt, iron ore, nickel, copper, and silica sand are some of the underdeveloped minerals.

Côte d’Ivoire has a good amount of petroleum reserves and, in 2010, exported $230 million of crude petroleum and $61 million of fuel oil to the USA. It imported $7 million worth of excavating machinery from USA in the same year.

The map of Cote D’Ivoire. Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

Metals

Gold production in Cote D’Ivoire slumped in 2010 due to various reasons. Production in the Angovia gold mine located northwest of Yamoussoukro amounted to 629 kg in 2010 compared to 673 kg in 2009. The mine is owned by Cluff Gold plc of UK via its 90%-owned subsidiary Yaouré Mining SA. The remaining 10% is owned by the government.

The Bonikro gold mine located in south-central Côte d’Ivoire also produced less gold. It accounted for 2,651 kg of gold in 2010 compared to 4,666 kg in 2009. Similarly, the gold production in the Ity gold mine decreased to 1,155 kg from 1,608 kg in 2009. This mine is operated by Société des Mines d’Ity, a joint venture comprising La Mancha Resources Inc. of Canada, Société pour le Développement Minier (44.1%), and the government.

Studies indicate that the Tongon open gold mine, which includes the North Zone (NZ) and the South Zone (SZ) main pits, has a mine life of 10 years. The mining plans for the NZ and the SZ pits would be from 2010 to 2016 and from 2015 to 2019, respectively. The production capacity at Tongon has been estimated as 37.26 Mt.

Fossil Fuels

In 2010, Total S.A. of France signed an agreement with Côte d’Ivoire-based Yam’s Petroleum for acquiring 60% interest in the CI-100 deepwater exploration license. Total expects its first exploration drilling to start during the course of this year.

The only operating petroleum refinery in Côte d’Ivoire produced about 80,000 bbl/d in 2010.

Investment

The government of Côte d’Ivoire is working towards diversifying its mining sector. It is making huge efforts to increase exploration and mining activities in the gold sector. Studies estimate the gold reserves in the country to be about 200Mt, which has led as many as 30 mining companies with international operations to conduct exploration activities in and around the country. Based on the steady increase in gold production in the last two years despite riots and civil unrest, experts believe that gold production is likely to reach 25 t by 2015.

The government is also open to granting licenses and permits to international mining companies. Recently, Endeavour Mining Corp. of Canada and Occidental Gold, a unit of Australia's Perseus Mining Limited, has acquired production permits. Occidental Gold plans to invest US$165.78 million in exploration operations in the near future.

Although the mining industry of Côte d’Ivoire is in its early stage of development, it is definitely on the right track towards a bright future, according to mining experts.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.

Sources and Further Reading

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

G.P. Thomas

Written by

G.P. Thomas

Gary graduated from the University of Manchester with a first-class honours degree in Geochemistry and a Masters in Earth Sciences. After working in the Australian mining industry, Gary decided to hang up his geology boots and turn his hand to writing. When he isn't developing topical and informative content, Gary can usually be found playing his beloved guitar, or watching Aston Villa FC snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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