Equatorial Guinea is one country that has a very rich history in gold. Gold exploration, mining and trading in this region dates back centuries. This early explorations was influenced by the rich gold history of its West African kingdoms like the Asante. During this pre-colonial period, the kingdoms in this region used gold as a show of wealth, a commodity and a medium of exchange.
The kingdoms in this region practiced commercial gold mining to support this. With the entry of Spain to the country during the colonial period, gold mining activities in this region were very minimal. There was no any commercial gold mining.
Equatorial Guinea attained its independence in 1968. The new government was dedicated in developing the country’s mining industry. It invited Russian and French geologists to investigate for mineral deposits in the country. This geologists discovered substantial amounts of gold deposits in various regions in the nation. Further gold exploration surveys were conducted by a joint venture of Spain and Equatorial Guinea, GEMSA and UMCEG. This two companies conducted land and airborne surveys to ascertain the economic sense in mining the available deposits. This survey also helped create the nation’s GIS databases on minerals.
Mining the Gold Reserves in Equatorial Guinea
Through the intensive exploration, gold deposits in Equatorial Guinea have been identified in three major places namely Aconibe, Coro and Mongomo. This areas are found on the northern border of Monts de Cristal terrane. There were also few other places that had substantial alluvial gold reserves. This alluvial reserves would give coarse gold nuggets and other quartz minerals. This would depend on whether the alluvial ore comes from primary or secondary gold reserve.
Aconibe, Coro and Mongomo were marked as the most viable gold reserves in this West African nation and mining plans started immediately. The government of Equatorial Guinea started investor attraction programs to facilitate investments in this sector. It also came up with Mining Law in 1981 to facilitate smooth running of the industry. In 2006, the government amended this law to place all mineral sources under its ownership.
So far, there has been no heavily commercialized mining of gold in Equatorial Guinea. The nations government is still running promotions to attract investors to the industry. On the informal level, some mining of this precious metal is taking place.
Alluvial Mining by the Locals
Local artisans are in this region are using basic methods to mine gold. On the banks of Rio Muni rivers their are several local gold processing stations. The main methods used here to separate gold from its ore are wooden sluice and panning techniques. The local artisans working on Aconibe, Coro and Mongomo reserves have been doing well since the discovery of gold in the region.
Economic viability of this gold deposits have been analyzed using the rough earnings of this miners and has proved to be a success to a great extend. This rough statistics indicate that not less than 2.3 tons of gold been mined by this local artisans so far. A report released in 2006, by the United States Geological Survey indicated that approximately 200 kg of gold was being mined in Equatorial Guinea annually.
This artisans mining using their crude mining and processing methods are able to come up with a variety of minerals from the rich ores of this region. The main mineral deducted from the ore is the coarse grained alluvial gold.
The gold deposits in Equatorial Guinea are very promising. Once mining starts, this nation is likely to be increase substantially in global ranking of gold production.
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