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Due to continuing civil unrest in the country, development of the country’s mineral sector has not occurred.

The mineral industry of Somalia produces small quantities of gemstones and salt. The country also has unexploited deposits of feldspar, gypsum, iron ore, kaolin, limestone, natural gas, quartz, silica sand, tantalum, tin, and uranium. The mineral industry makes a small contribution to Somalia’s exports and economy in general.

Tin-tantalum deposits are located at Dalan and Manja-Yihan in Puntland, which were exploited previously by Technoexport Bulgaria during the 1970s and the presence of simpsonite (a high-grade calcic aluminium tantalate) in heavy mineral sands deposits developed along the beaches east of Berbera implies the presence of undiscovered tantalum resources in the adjacent basement.

The northern basement complex consists of a series of high-grade metamorphic rocks which enclose at least two greenstone belts that are known to contain evidence of volcanogenic gold-rich base metal deposits. A number of layered and zoned mafic/ultramafic intrusive complexes are known, and stream sampling has delineated platinum group metal anomalies associated with these igneous complexes.

In the southern Somalian or Bur Basement complex, located west of Mogadishu, previous exploration outlined some low-grade iron-ore resources at Bur Galan (indicated resource to 200 m depth of 394 Mt) and Dahimir (indicated resource of about 30 Mt at a similar grade).

There is also a small uranium (carnotite) deposit, with a reported indicated resource varying between 10-25 Mt at 0.07-0.08% U3O8. Phosphate (apatite) occurrences are relatively widespread in the calc-silicate rocks of the region.

As of 2006, mineral production and trade data continued to be unavailable because of the lack of a functioning central Government since 1991 and the conflict that pervaded most of the country. The war forced the closure of Somalia’s cement plant and oil refinery. The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004, disrupted salt production in Hurdiye in late 2004 and early 2005; it is unclear to what extent output has recovered.

Gemstone and salt producers appear to be artisanal and small-scale in nature. The cement plant and refinery were operated by parastatal companies prior to their closure.

Mineral Law & Legislation

The collapse of the central Government in 1991 led to ambiguity over mineral rights. The governing authority of Somaliland (a region in northern Somalia) granted East African Mining Corp. Ltd. exclusive rights to explore all mineral deposits in Somaliland. The company planned to start producing gemstones and marble in the Berbera area in mid-2006.

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