The mining industry in Western Sahara is important to the national economy of Morocco. Western Sahara is an important part of Morocco, producing most of the minerals exported by the country.
Other than gold, Western Sahara is the largest phosphate producer in the world. Today gold mining in Western Sahara is not as huge as is the case of neighboring countries such as Senegal and Mauritania, however the government of Morocco has in the recent past been working on policy and infrastructure to provide a conducive investment climate for investors in the sector. With the relatively stable political conditions you have a great chance of investing in the country’s gold production. With little foreign investments, most of the gold resources in Western Sahara are still unexploited.
Mining History of the Sahara
The history of gold mining in Western Sahara dates back to ancient times. Most of the technical know-how used in gold production in the territory was brought to the area by early Muslims of Spain and Southern France who visited the area to spread the Islamic faith in the 18th century. In 1920s, gold extraction was reported in the area next to Mauritania where the locals were mining alluvial gold on small scale. The Spanish occupiers of Western Sahara then took over the mining but it was soon discovered that deposit had very little gold.
Several other small gold finds were recorded in several places throughout the Western Sahara territory over the years but no major gold mining took place during the colonial period. After the exit of Spain in 1976, Morocco took over the running of the territory. Over the years Morocco has put in places several measures to develop the country’s mining sector. This has resulted in several new gold discoveries that are still under development.
Gold in Western Sahara
Being considered as part of Morocco, gold mining in the Western Sahara is under the BRPM (Bureau de Recherches et de Participations Minières) which has played a major role in the development of mineral resources within the territory. The state owned agency helps promote an enabling mining environment and support infrastructures for investors in the region. It also controls the licensing of prospectors and miners in the region and thus for you to invest in gold mining in Western Sahara you will need to engaged the agency.
So far a number of geological surveys have been carried out in Western Sahara. The result from the surveys shows that western has huge potential of becoming a top gold producer in Africa. Gold in the country is found in two geological areas. Gold deposits can be found in the Ruguibat shield which also contains other hard rock minerals such as platinum, copper, and nickel among others. Traces of gold have also been recorded on the Mauritanides Thrust Belt which also has significant presence of copper, iron and titanium among other important minerals.
Active Mining Operations
Up to date the only major gold deposit under development in Western Sahara is the Lafwila gold deposit located at about 300km south of the city of Dikhla. The mine is owned and being developed by the stated owned Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM) which has put in resources to develop the mine to full mining. The company is also exploring both the Ouday Cfa and the Madnat As Sadra projects for the presence of gold and other precious metals.
Canadian firm, Metalex Ventures Ltd, working in conjunction with the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of Morocco (ONHYM) has also recorded several gold finds in several places within Western Sahara. Efforts are underway to conduct further studies in these areas to determine the viability of the gold finds.
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