Malta: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Malta
Overview of Resources
Industrial Minerals
Fossil Fuels
Investment
Sources

Welcome to Malta

The country of Malta is an archipelago located to the south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. The total area of the country is 316 km2, and it has a population of 409,836 as of July 2012. The country enjoys Mediterranean climate.

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

Malta became a republic on 13 December 1974. In 2004, Malta became an EU member and has been using the euro as its currency since 2008. Its geographic position between North Africa and Europe has brought more problems than benefits, as illegal immigration has become rampant in the recent years, and the resulting population increase has strained the government’s resources.

Malta's economy is mainly dependent on foreign trade, tourism and manufacturing. It also has a strong financial service sector. The GDP of the island nation was $10.89 billion in 2011.

Malta has limited natural resources. Limestone and salt are the only significant resources available in the country but they do not impact the country’s GDP.

Overview of Resources

Malta Resources Authority (MRA), a public corporate body, is responsible for formulating regulations and granting licenses relating to mining and quarrying operations).

Quarrying is run by small family-operated businesses. Salt production was also produced by similar businesses. Limestone was the only major mineral commodity produced by the mineral sector in 2010.

Malta is dependant mostly on imports of raw materials and fuels to meet its local needs.

In 2010, the total exports of the Maltese islands were valued at $2.5 billion and the total imports were valued at $3.9 billion. U.S. exports to Malta in 2010 were valued at $424 million, and U.S. imports from Malta were valued at $264 million.

The map of Malta. Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Industrial Minerals

There are two types of limestone that are quarried in Malta using the open pit mining method. The first type known as Franka/softstone was quarried from the Lower Globigerina Limestone Formation in 2010 to be mainly used as a building construction material. The second type known as hardstone was quarried from the Lower and Upper Coralline Limestone Formations.

Fossil Fuels

Oil Exploration Department (OED) of the MRA is in charge of the activities relating to the oil sector in Malta.

In 2010, Leni Gas & Oil plc (LGO) of UK was involved in oil and gas exploration, development, and production along with Mediterranean Oil & Gas plc in southern Malta in Area 4, Blocks 4, 5, 6, and 7. Mediterranean Oil & Gas held 90% interest and LGI held 10% interest in the project. The two companies conducted several geoscience studies and surveys for selected drill targets.

Investment

Based on the recent news about the increase in the shares of Mediterranean Oil & Gas up on announcing its Area 4 oil prospects off the coast of Malta, mining experts predict that Malta’s offshore exploration for petroleum activities is likely to continue in the coming years. They also believe that the production of industrial minerals for domestic consumption will follow the same pace.

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

http://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/country/2010/myb3-2010-mt.pdf

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mt.html

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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