Although most people don’t associate Libya with gold mining, it is an interesting country to watch especially if you are interested in mining. Libya like most Arab countries depends on oil production to fund its economy. In fact, oil provides nearly 100% of the country’s foreign earnings and contributes to about a third of the country’s GDP.
It is, however, important to note that Libya may hold some very large gold reserves. Most of this gold had been mined locally and only on a small scale, and has never mined its gold on a commercial scale.
History points to gold mining activities that took place in the neighboring Egypt during the Egyptian civilization. In fact according to the ancient literature, the Arabs who lived in the Libyan desert in the past had a acquired the gold mining skills from the Egyptians and most of the gold mined in the country was along the border line with Egypt.
Due to the country being a desert, mining of gold is hindered by the arid conditions and this could be the reason why gold mining in Libya is yet to be fully developed. This is further compounded by the fact that access to the most desolate but gold-rich regions of the country is not easy. In fact, to date there is no commercial gold mining venture in the country. This could also be attributed to the fact that oil production has been bringing in good revenue that supported the country’s economy.
Libya shares the same geological makeup with Egypt, which has recorded several commercially viable gold finds in the past. In the past gold has been found in the region between the Arabian-Nubian shield and the Hoggar Massif. The basement rock for this region consists of the East Sahara craton that has proved to be rich in gold in the neighboring Egypt. Actually, this region has quite a number of high-grade metamorphic belts that has supplied gold to local artisan gold miners in the past. There are also a number of tertiary ring complexes to the south of the country that has shown great potential for gold production.
Given the fact that gold mining is still in its infancy stage in Libya, it is important that you should acquaint yourself with the laws governing mining in Libya. If you are a foreigner, then you need to study and understand laws that regulate how foreigners invest in the non-oil segment of the economy. This is important as it outlines what you have to do to get a license so that you can conduct business in the country.
In addition, you have to understand the provisions of laws which govern international companies that deal in minerals within Libya. Gold could potential become a more important mineral to the country in the future. It is important that you follow the law to the later, as you license can easily be revoked if you fail to follow the laws governing its mining. For instance, law number 443 of 2006 requires that every foreign company seeking permission for exploring and mine minerals such as gold must have a local partner that holds at least 35% of their joint venture. Thus, it is important to know this on time so that you can find a local partner that will add value to your operations.