Benin: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Benin
Overview of Resources
Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

Welcome to Benin

Benin is a small country located in Western Africa between Nigeria and Togo. The total area of the country is 112,622 km2, and it has a population of 9,598,787 as of July 2012. The country’s climate is tropical.

The national flag of Benin.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

Benin became an independent country in 1960. After years of political dictatorship, the current democratic ruling party is working towards liberating the country of corruption and boosting economic growth as the economy has been sluggish and underdeveloped for many years. The GDP of the country as of 2011 was $14.87 billion.

Benin’s natural resources are limited and include small offshore oil reserves, marble, and limestone. The mining industry is largely underdeveloped, as the economy is dependent on agriculture and the country has to address issues relating to basic necessities such as water, electricity, transport, and other infrastructure needs. Foreign aid is currently helpful in sorting out these issues.

Overview of Resources

Benin’s mining sector mainly produces industrial minerals. In 2010, the industrial minerals production included cement, limestone, marble, clay, sand and gravel.

Benin relies heavily on imports as can be seen by the following statistics recorded in 2010:

  • Imports from USA were valued at $466 million compared to $397 million in 2009
  • Exports to USA were valued at $276,000 compared to $441,000 in 2009

The map of Benin. Image Credit: CIA Factbook


In Benin, gold has been produced in very small quantities by artisanal miners in the past. However, recently gold mineralization has been identified in the Atacora and Alibori regions, which has drawn some amount of interest from foreign investors.

Similarly, low-grade iron ore deposits have been discovered at Loumbou-Loumbou and Madekali in the Borgou district. The exploration surveys estimate the deposits to have more than 500 million t of ore.

Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

In 2010, Dangote Industries Ltd. of Nigeria took over the Nigerian Government’s 43% interest in Onigbolo Cement Co (OCC). Previously, OCC was a joint venture between the Government of Benin (51%) and the Government of Nigeria (43%).The reported capacity of the OCC plant was 600,000 M t/yr of cement.

In the past, sedimentary phosphate deposits were mined along the Mekrou River in the northern regions.


The government of Benin owns all mineral deposits and makes all the decisions regarding grants, exploration and mining rights. The country is working towards a transparent legislation to assure foreign investors that Benin is a safe zone for mining investments.

Currently, the terms and conditions of mining activities are stipulated in a Mining Convention, which calls for a signed agreement between the government and the private company. Another requirement is that the private company has to establish headquarters in the country and appoint an accredited representative before beginning mining activities. The royalties from mining operations vary between 5% and 15% as it is based on the value of the minerals involved.

All these measures and planning by the government of Benin clearly indicate the country’s interest in promoting its mining sector and generating revenue from it in the coming years.

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.


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of 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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