Gabon is an important mining country in Africa. Mining has been the backbone for the country’s economy for many years now. In the past the country’s major mineral export was oil, but things are about to change as more gold discoveries are being made.
The country realized its potential to produce gold and other minerals in the early 2000s and to speed up exploration and mining of these minerals the Société Equatoriale des Mines (SEM), or simply Gabon Mining was formed in 2011 by a presidential decree. Since then the company has been working on four major gold projects namely the Mavenza gold project, located in the Moyen Ogooué province, the Camp 6 gold project in the Ogooué-Ivindo province, the Kolissen gold project in the Moyen-Ogooué province; and the Lombo Bouenguidi gold project in the Ogooué- Lolo province.
These are the major gold project in the country since it attained it independence from the French in early 1960s. Several multinational gold mining companies have also been licensed to explore and develop gold resources in the country.
Although no commercial gold mining has been done in the country until just recently, Gabon has a long history of gold mining. Gold mining in the country dates back the pre-colonial time when local communities used to mine alluvial gold along rivers and streams. Records show that throughout history gold has been found in more than 350 places throughout the country.
Most of the mining has been by small scale artisanal miners in river banks and mountain slopes. Major traditional gold mining areas include Mayibouth, Etéké, Minkébé, Ndangui, and Ndjolé, all of which have produced alluvial gold over the years. The product of gold in the country has been erratic perhaps because not all gold produced is recorded as some gold produced by small scale artisanal miners is sold in the black markets and smuggled outside the country without proper documentation.
In recent times many international players have begun setting base in the country to explore and develop the country’s underutilized gold resources. Some of the major gold resources under developing include the following.
This is an important gold project operated by GoldStone Resources Ltd. The project covers an area of about 515km2. The GoldStone Resources Limited was given the permit to explore and develop gold resources on the project in 2011. The project is made up of robust gold in the soil anomaly along a 15 km stretch in the Archean greenstone belt. The Soil anomaly was first discovered in 2005 when a collaborative survey by French, Gabonese and South African geological surveys were done. The company has been doing further analysis in the region with the main aim of developing the resource to mining standards.
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Magnima – Bakoudou Project
This is the main gold mine in Gabon. It is located in the Southeast Gabon. Gold production at the mine started with 20,500 ounces of gold in 2012. The project is estimated to contain about 805,000 oz of gold. Still further studies are still being conducted around the mine in the Etéké district and have shown great potential for more gold resources.
Camp 6 gold project
This is an important gold project to the government of Gabon. The project is owned and run by the government through SEM, a government parastatal. SEM has conducted extensive exploration activities on the Greenfield operations with lots of success.
The project has lots of gold mineralization but further studies are still needed for the mining to commence. This is important news to the government as further investments in the sector seems to be bearing fruits for the country.