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Cote D’Ivoire
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Côte d’Ivoire has considerable mineral potential, with important occurrences of gold, diamonds, iron, nickel, cobalt, copper and manganese, and bauxite having been identified. Like much of West Africa, however, it is gold that has been at the forefront of exploration and the focus of most foreign investment since the introduction of a new favorable mining investment code in 1995. Côte d’Ivoire is no exception with nearly all of the prospecting and mining licenses being issues for gold. The country has a broad commodity base with undeveloped iron ore, bauxite, nickel, manganese and tantalite resources. Artisanal workings of gold and diamonds are widespread.

Diamond output in 2001 was 320,000 carats, down from 398,282 in 1999. Gold production in 2001 was 2,100 kg, compared to 1,000 in 1996. Tantalite production was 400 kg in 2001, down from 1,400 in 1998. Côte d'Ivoire in 2001 also produced cement, clays, columbite, crushed granite, manganese, crushed rock, sand and gravel, and stone; the production of building materials was a leading industry in the country. The country's total iron ore resource was estimated to be 3,000 million tons. There has been recent interest in constructing a gas pipeline to service an iron ore pelletizing plant onsite, and the government has been actively pursuing a project to build a 500 km railway that would connect Mount Nimba and the San Pedro port.

Copper, titanium, chromite, bauxite, and asphalt were among other known minerals not yet exploited commercially. In 2001, Côte d'Ivoire agreed with six West African countries to form a free-trade zone to expand economic and infrastructural development.

Diamond

Alluvial diamond mining has an official annual output of 145,000 carats (2001), of which three quarters are said to be gemstone quality. Côte d’Ivoire has historically produced approximately 165 000 ct/year. All of the alluvial mining is sourced from the fields located at Tortiya and Seguela which is located 100km from Korhogo. Although kimberlites have been identified in these areas, none have been mined or evaluated.

Gold

Côte d'Ivoire has considerable gold reserves; however, civil unrest in the country resulted in complete shutdown of most exploration and mining activities in the country towards the end of 2002, although a number of companies were beginning to show interest in the resumption of operations in the first part of 2004.

Iron Ore

Poor infrastructure is curtailing plans for Côte d'Ivoire’s large iron ore reserves, also situated inland. The vast iron ore deposits at Mount Nimba and Mount Kalayo, in the western border area, estimated at 3 000 Mt, have attracted little attention due to the grade of the deposits, estimated at averaging 40% iron. However, recent negotiations to develop a gas pipeline to service an iron ore pelletizing plant on site has been discussed with Normandy Mining, SODEMI and a Chinese investment group. There has also been talk of a rail link between Mount Nimba to the port of San Pedro.

Mineral Law & Legislation

Minerals represented a minor component of the economy, of which petroleum was a leading industry. All mineral rights were vested in the state; the Ministère des Ressources Minières et Pétrolières was responsible for administering the sector, and prospecting and mining were subject to control of the state-owned Société d'Etat pour le Développment Minier de la Côte d'Ivoire (SODEMI).

Although mining has not been historically of the same significance as in some other West African nations, in 1995 the Government, recognizing the potential significance of mine development and diversification to the national economy, undertook the reform of the 1964 mining code. The primary aim was to make conditions more attractive to foreign investors and, as in Ghana, many aspects of the new law impinge on business legislation generally.

The Mining Code (Law No.95-553, July 18, 1995) is based on French law and has the following basic features:

Major Players in the Industry

  • Randgold Resources
  • Etruscan Resources
  • Banlaw Afrique Côte d’Ivoire SARL

Key Figures

  • Gold production: 1,600 kilograms (2006)
  • Diamond production:99,000 carats (2006)

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