South Africa / Africa Raw Materials
South Africa has the world's
largest known deposits of chromium, manganese, and vanadium, as well
as significant deposits of iron ore, antimony, copper, nickel, lead,
titanium, fluorspar, zinc, and zirconium. Most of these metals are
exported unprocessed, with the exception of iron ore, which is also
used in the local steel industry.
South Africa's chromium deposits
contain about 72 percent of the world's reserves, most of it in the
Bushveld complex of minerals. About one-third of chromium produced
is exported, much of it to the United States and Japan.
South Africa contains the
largest known deposits of manganese ore in the world. Its reserves
of at least 12.5 billion tons, mostly in the Northern Cape mineral
complex, constitute 75 percent of the world total. Manganese is
essential in the manufacture of iron and steel, and more than 90
percent of South Africa's manganese is used for this purpose.
South Africa produces between
25,000 tons and 30,000 tons of vanadium a year, almost 45 percent of
the world's supply. Its estimated 5.4 million tons constitute
one-third of world reserves. Vanadium is used in manufacturing
steel, to provide tensile and torsional strength and resistance to
South Africa has only about 2
percent of the world's known copper reserves, with the largest
deposits in the Transvaal complex in the northeast. Copper is also
mined in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape.
South Africa is the largest
producer of iron ore on the continent, with reserves estimated at
more than 9.4 billion tons. Iron is mined in the Northern Cape, the
Bushveld, and the Transvaal complexes, and in KwaZulu-Natal. More
than 29.3 million tons of iron ore, roughly 3 percent of world
output, are produced and almost half of that amount was used in the
Africa (excluding South Africa)
has iron ore reserve estimated at over 34 billion tons (or some 15
percent of the world’s total), with 11 countries having reserve
greater than one billion tons. The ore is distributed with 20.4
percent in Northern Africa, 40% in Western Africa, 24.5% in Central
Africa and 15.1% in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The largest reserve occurs in the following areas:
Kilomoto hematite deposit in Democratic Republic of Congo (5 billion
Manesi range low-grade deposit in Zimbabwe
(3.3 billion tons)
Gora Djebilet deposit in Algeria (3.025
Other large deposits occur in Angola, Cote
d’Ivoire, Liberia, Libyan Arab jamahiriya, Mauritania, Nigeria and
Sierra Leone. Despite Africa’s extensive resource base, only a few
deposits are being commercially exploited. Thus only Algeria, Egypt,
Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia and Zimbabwe rank
among the world’s iron ore producers.
of Africa’s iron ore resources remain largely undeveloped owing to
such constraints as non-availability of the necessary investment
resources from both domestic and international sources, the general
sluggishness of the world iron ore market, the relative
inaccessibility of many reserves (necessitating large investment in
transportation and other infrastructures), and civil and political
strifes that hamper development. Liberia, Mauritania and Algeria are
the only African exporters of iron ore.