Congo: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Congo
Overview of Resources
Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

Welcome to Congo

Republic of Congo is located in Central Africa between Gabon and Angola. The total area of the country is 342,000 km2, and it has a population of 4,366,266 as of July 2012. The country’s climate is mainly tropical.

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

After gaining independence in 1960, Congo had to deal with political unrest and civil war, which caused a major humanitarian crisis that hampered the country’s economic growth. However, recent economic reforms with the support of international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank have helped improve the country's economy. The GDP of the country in 2011 was $18.48 billion.

The natural resources of Congo include petroleum, natural gas, gold, uranium, copper, potash, lead, zinc, phosphates, and magnesium. Earlier, Congo was one of Africa's largest petroleum producers, but those oil wells are depleting, thus affecting production. New wells need to be drilled for the government to continue enjoying revenue from the oil sector.

Overview of Resources

The average global crude oil price continued to increase in 2010 after the economic slump in 2008. This price increase has aided the growth of Congo’s economy. About 89% of the country’s exports in 2010 was attributed to the oil sector. Non-fuel minerals that were produced in 2010 were gold, diamond, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc and cement.

Experts believe that Congo’s mineral resources are not properly exploited and many reserves remain dormant.

The map of Congo. Image Credit: CIA Factbook


The Société de Recherche et d’Exploitation Minière, a subsidiary of Gerald Metals, Inc. of USA, with 90% equity interest along with the government holding 10% interest, was involved in the development process of the Boko Songo copper and Yanga Koubanza lead-zinc mines.

In 2010, Compagnie Minière du Chaillu, a subsidiary of Mexivada Mining Corp. of Canada, continued to explore the Moussondji permit. In October the same year, Zamarat Mining Ltd. of UK acquired up to 70% interest in Mexivada’s gold exploration and prospecting licenses.

Several iron ore exploration programs and prefeasibility studies were underway during 2010. Core Mining Congo S.A.R.L., a subsidiary of Core Mining Ltd. of UK, began mining for ore in the Avima project. Waratah Gold Ltd. of Australia gained 90% equity interest in Afriresources Congo S.A., which owned the exploration rights for mining operations in the Youkou iron ore project.

The iron ore exploration activities of the Zanaga iron ore project (ZIOP) (including the Zanga-Bambama and the Zamba-Madzoumou exploration licenses) were funded by Xstrata plc of Switzerland.

Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

In 2010, Cementos La Union of Spain constructed a 500,000-t/yr-capacity cement plant at Point Noire.

Diamond production was more than 380,000 carats in 2010 compared with 68,000 carats in 2009.

In 2010, Zamarat Mining also acquired up to 70% interest in Mexivada’s diamond exploration and prospecting permits, including the Camp Socobois, the Bitsandou, the Nzambi, the Malambani, and the Mbinda diamond permits.

The following are the other companies involved in diamond exploration:

  • La Société Congo Trading and Development of China
  • La Congolaise de Recherche et d’Exploitation Minière of Congo
  • La Société Motaba Mining of Congo

Sintoukola Potash S.A. was involved in drilling activities in the Sintoukola potash exploration project. Elemental Minerals Ltd. of Australia owned 93% of the equity interest in Sintoukola Potash.


Despite the fact that some of the older oilfields in Congo are being depleted, experts believe that its petroleum sector will continue to be a key player in the country’s economy in the near future as new deepwater oilfield projects are set to begin functioning. Development of diamond, gold, copper, and iron ore reserves will help diversify the country’s economy and decrease dependence upon oil.

However, the threat of civil disruption still exists despite the peace efforts organized by the Congolese government. Thus the government is unable to ensure a secure environment for investors, which could prove to be a major deterrent to the country’s progress.

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.


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