Angola: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Angola
Overview of Resources
Metals
Industrial Minerals and Gemstones
Fossil Fuels
Investment
Sources

Welcome to Angola

Angola is located in South Africa, and borders the South Atlantic Ocean between Democratic Republic of the Congo and Namibia. The total area of the country is 1,246,700 km2 and its total population according to 2012 estimates is 18,056,072. The southern part of the country has a semiarid climate and the northern region has both cool, dry and hot, rainy climates.

The national flag of Angola
Image Credit: CIA Factbook

The country is awash with natural resources such as phosphates, iron ore, diamonds, petroleum, bauxite, uranium, feldspar and petroleum. In 2008, the country’s economic growth was affected by lower prices of diamond and oil during the global recession. Inflation in the country decreased to 14% in 2011 from 325% in 2000. However, in 2011, the GDP of the country increased to $117.2 billion owing to hike in international prices of oil.

Overview of Resources

The major natural resources of Angola are petroleum and diamond. Petroleum production in the country increased to 676,000 million barrels (Mbbl) in 2010, compared to 651,000 Mbbl in 2009. Diamond produced in the country accounts for 11% of the world’s total production. The country is the third largest producer of diamond in the whole of Africa.

In addition, the country has abundant reserves of salt, gypsum, granite, cement and beryllium. It also has undeveloped reserves of zinc, wolfram, vanadium, uranium, tungsten, silver, quartz, phosphate rock, nickel, mica, manganese, lignite, lead, iron ore, gold, copper and clay.

The map of Angola. Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Metals

The government of Angola plans to start gold exploration activities in Jamba, Huila Province, in 2012. AP Services and genius Mineral of Angola has planned to start copper exploration activity in Mavoio mining region located in Uige Province, with an area of 10,000 km2.

The government in association with FERRANGOL has planned to start the exploration work for manganese and iron ore by 2013 in Cassinga iron ore mines. The mine was estimated to contain 600 metric tons (Mt) of iron reserves and 35 Mt of manganese reserves.

Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

The Secil-lobito and Cimangola plants in Angola were acquired by Companhia de Cemento do lobito S.A. and Nova Cimangola S.A, respectively, for cement production. The Cimangola cement plant has a capacity of nearly 1.2 million metric tons per year (Mt/yr) of cement. A new mill with a production capacity of 600,000 Mt/yr of cement was planned to be constructed in the Cimangola plant. The production capacity of the Secil-lobito plant is 250,000 Mt of cement.

Trans Hex Group Ltd. of South Africa in association with ENDIAMA started producing diamond in the west bank of the Luana River, which was estimated to contain 3 million carats of indicated diamond reserves. Luxinge diamond project was acquired by International gold Exploration Resources AB, ENDIAMA, Compesa Angola, Sheffield of Angola, and Syntechron Triade of Angola to produce nearly 3,000 carats of diamond per month. Luxinge project was estimated to contain 1.1 million carats of rough diamond.

In 2009, Angola started producing gypsum from Fábrica de gesso do Sumbe plant, which has a production capacity of about 17,000 Mt per month.

Fossil Fuels

A joint venture of Chevron Corp. of the US, Sonangol, BP p.l.c. of the UK, Eni S.P.A of Italy, and Total S.A. of France has planned to invest $10 billion in the construction of the Angola Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, which will have a production capacity of 5.2 Mt/yr of natural gas.

Angola is a member of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The country has a refinery, which can produce 40,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of petroleum. The construction of the Lobito refinery in Lobito city is underway and is likely to be completed by 2014. The Lobito refinery will be capable of producing 115,000-bbl/d during its first phase of operation and 200,000-bbl/d during 2015.

Investment

The country’s key foreign revenue comes from its diamond mining industry. Diamond production in the country generates more than $650 million yearly. The major problem with the diamond mining industry is illegal mining and smuggling.

In an attempt to boost its diamond industry, the Angolan government has introduced a new legislation which states that the buying and selling of Angolan diamonds has to be done through the state-owned company, Sodiam. The government had also licensed an estimated 350,000 artisanal miners. However, the government needs to take control over the rebel-held areas and impose penalties on violators in order to stop smuggling. Smuggling and illegal diamond mining can be prevented by adapting kimberlite mining, which is expensive and requires foreign investment to provide the necessary capital.

The government is planning to encourage more foreign investment in mining companies in order to increase the contribution of the mining industry to the country’s GDP. The country will likely increase its production capacity of cement and gypsum. Redevelopment of the Cassinga mine, copper deposits and gold deposits in the country will also likely support the development of the country’s mining industry.

Despite the economic slowdown during global recession in 2008 and 2009, the country has ranked 15th in the world’s fastest growing economies according to 2011 reports. The country has scope for developing many small businesses in the diamond mining industry. However, the country must expand its international market in petroleum and diamond mining to achieve considerable development in the future.

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-ao.pdf

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

http://www.economist.com/node/18118935

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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