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Senegal has a wealth of diverse and unexploited mineral deposits which until recently have lain dormant. Senegal’s geology has to a large extent dictated mineral production in the country. Previously Senegal's mining industry was dominated by the exploitation of phosphates, industrial limestone and attapulgite. However due to a new mining code and investment promotion drive by the Senegalese government and their development partners, the exploitation of gold, iron ore and uranium in south eastern Senegal and deposits of zircon and titanium in the Grand Cote in the Sedimentary basin have commenced. Senegal is set to become one of Africa's leading gold producers and a world class deposit of iron ore is to be exploited in the near future.

Senegal’s phosphate and heavy mineral sand deposits are located within a large coastal basin of Mid Jurassic to recent age sediments that cover most of the country. Gold, diamonds, iron ore and base metals are hosted within Archaean and Proterozoic age rocks that are restricted to the far eastern parts of the country, bordering with Mali. The minerals industry produces approximately 20% of Senegal’s export earnings as well as 20% of the country’s GDP. A 10 Mt titanium resource has been identified located in heavy mineral sands deposits near the coast.

Iron Ore

In 2004, South African Miner Kumba Resources Limited signed an agreement with Miferso, a Government of Senegal-owned project development company, granting it the right to conduct and develop a pre-feasibility study on the Faleme iron ore project situated in the south-eastern region of the country Kumba ..


The Senegal-Mali Structural Corridor (SMSC) hosts the bulk of the country's gold, copper, iron and diamond occurrences. In 2003 the Environment Minister stated that, in an effort to preserve Senegal's shrinking forests, there will be no new permits in designated forest conservation areas, and future exploration or mining permits anywhere in the country will be based on social and environmental impact studies.

Randgold Resources has been conducting an exploration programme on the SMSC at its Kounemba, Kanoumering and Tomboronkoto permits, which total 1,200 km sq for the past four years. Randgold has defined several targets, including five significant gold intersections with multiple gold-in-soil anomalies.

The Sabodala gold project in the west of Senegal was commissioned in April 2009. The project produced 162 529 oz in 2009. Mineral Deposits is currently busy with an expansion at the project and expects production of 220 000 oz per annum once this is completed.

The Birimian gold belt which runs from Mali into Senegal is one of the largest gold belts in the world, but is still largely unexplored. To date 44 moz have been discovered on the belt.

Heavy Minerals

Mineral Deposits is currently developing the Grand Cote mineral sands project. This project delivers some of the best quality zircon in the world, and it is expected that, on completion, Grand Cote will produce approximately 7% of the world’s zircon. Production is forecast to commence in 2013.

Mineral Law & Legislation

There are three fundamental mineral rights, specifically the research permit, the exploitation permit and the mining concession.

  • Research Permit: issued for three years in compliance with the Mining Code, renewable twice with stipulations to relinquish areas, generally 25% on each occasion. After the second renewal, the permit can be exceptionally extended for a duration not exceeding its initial period of validity.
  • Exploitation Permit: granted for a period not exceeding five years, and is renewable.
  • Mining Concession: attributed for a period of five years, and is renewable for a period not exceeding 25 years.

The mining company, which operates autonomously in its activities, is allowed to expatriate its profits. Investors are requested to provide a minimum of 20% of the investment for S.M.E`s and 30% for larger companies.

Major Players in the Industry

  • Kumba Resources Limited
  • Randgold Resources
  • Ableen Farms Limited
  • Lion Star Mining Company
  • Sabadola Gold Operations SA
  • Mineral Deposits Ltd.

Key Figures

  • Gold production: 600 kilograms (2006)
  • Hydraulic Cement production:1,700 thousand metric tons (2005)

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