Sub-Saharan Africa: redressing the inequality of information available to producer countries and mining companies

African countries dealing with mining companies for the extraction of their mineral resources by must be able to negotiate from a fully informed position. This is the aim of an important BRGM project concerning nine strategic materials.
1 November 2010
Tas de bauxite extraits d’un puits d’exploration minière

Bauxite extracted from a prospecting borehole (Bougoumé plateau, Guinea).

© BRGM - J.-F. Labbé

Mineral resources and development in Africa: opportunities for nine mineral substances. The “9 S Report”, published in early 2010, is the fruit of a BRGM partnership with the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.  

A French cooperation project with Africa  

The goal of this French cooperation project with Africa is to redress the inequalities in the scientific, technical and especially economic and strategic information available to countries owning mineral resources and the companies interested in extracting them.   

A project concerning over 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa  

Nine priority substances were identified as resources of prime importance to over 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: gold, diamonds and tantalum; copper and cobalt; iron, bauxite and manganese.  

All their known or potential resources need to be better characterized and/or developed. There are advantages in extracting and marketing these resources, but also disadvantages that need to be better understood. The BRGM’s work involved collecting every kind of information that could be useful to African governments in conducting their negotiations with mining companies. 

9 exhaustive monographs on 9 priority substances  

Comprising almost 250 pages, this lengthy report is organized into 9 fact sheets, each offering an exhaustive monograph on one of the substances and covering every aspect (historical, geological, economic, strategic, etc.) from the “value chain” perspective, from production through to consumption. Different strategies for future action are also put forward, based on analyses of the different parameters.  

This is the first time a synoptic study of this kind, with methodological recommendations, has ever been attempted. With this report, the BRGM can now provide governments with the basic knowledge they need to negotiate mining contracts under optimum conditions. The BRGM is therefore helping to provide these countries with the means to develop their own development strategies.