When it comes to gold in northern Africa, the focus has always been on places like Ghana and Burkina Faso. With growing exploration activity pushing into neighboring countries like Cote d’Ivoire the last few years.
But news this week suggests that potential in this region may now be opening up across a wider area.
For one thing, the Democratic Republic of Congo announced this week that its 2015 gold production increased 30 percent as compared to 2014 — hitting 820,000 ounces for the year.
As the map below shows, this big jump in gold output comes a long way southeast of the traditional Ghana gold-producing region. With the DR Congo lying about 1,500 kilometers away.
Surging gold production in the DR Congo (lower right) comes a long way from northern Africa’s traditional producing areas in Ghana and Burkina Faso (top left)
And there may be an even bigger prize lurking here — right in between the two areas.
That’s in Nigeria. Where the government said this week it is hoping to jumpstart the exploration business across one of the largest nations in the region — measuring almost a million square kilometers in area.
Nigeria’s minister of solid mineral development, Kayode Fayemi, said Monday that the government has completed a comprehensive review of mineral licenses across the country. And will now look to bring new life to exploration areas — by stripping licenses from firms that have been inactive in advancing these projects.
Fayemi said that some licenses could be revoked as early as March 1. Potentially bringing prime ground out of the woodwork, and into the hands of new operators.
The move comes as Nigeria is looking to diversify its economy away from oil. Giving a serious push to reforms in the country — which is well-positioned geologically, but hasn’t seen a lot of comprehensive exploration work due to regulatory issues.
Watch for the results of the government’s review — which will reportedly be revealed next week.
Here’s to moving things along
By Dave Forest
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