In Senegal, the mining sector offers significant potential for private investors. With the exception of phosphates, gold, zirconium and industrial limestone, the mining potential is largely under-exploited.
The Government of Senegal, in consultation and close collaboration with the various stakeholders in the sector, has developed a mining policy aimed at improving the yield of extractive activities, attracting national and foreign investors and, above all, guaranteeing national production capable of generating wealth and creating sustainable employment.
In order to develop all its mining resources, Senegal has undertaken a vast policy of opening up the sector, particularly to develop foreign mining investment.
In terms of mining resources, Senegal has traditionally been known since the 1940s for phosphate mining.
Senegal has a rich subsoil with various mineral resources such as :
- precious metals (gold and platinum)
- base metals (iron, copper, chromium, nickel);
- industrial minerals (phosphates, industrial limestones, salts, etc.);
- heavy minerals (zircon, titanium, etc.);
- With regards to iron, the iron deposits are located in four (04) distinct areas and the proven reserves are estimated at more than 750 million tonnes. One of these areas hosts the Falémé project in the south-east of the country, which has an annual production of 15 to 25 million tonnes of iron ore. Its development is integrated with the creation of new road and port infrastructures with the mineral port of Bargny.
The Senegalese sedimentary basin is also rich in other resources such as zirconium, titanium, industrial limestone, attapulgite, peat, natural gas, etc.
In order to develop all these mining resources, Senegal has undertaken a vast policy of opening up the sector to develop foreign mining investment in particular.
The interest in developing the mining and fertiliser sector is manifold. These achievements are part of the :
- rebalancing the balance of trade, increasing the knock-on effects on the rest of the economy (scale resources, agriculture, industry, infrastructure) and contributing to social development via artisanal mines
- the exploitation of mining resources, which is an opportunity to create structuring infrastructures and develop diversified and sustainable economic activities in the production areas while ensuring environmental protection.
- the development of the mining industry for which Senegal will position itself as a reference centre for services in the region. The development of a fertiliser industry with a national champion is part of the process of sustainably raising agricultural productivity and production levels.
The Senegalese subsoil shows many indications or deposits of useful substances or minerals, which leaves room for the entry of new private investors in the sector. Interest in Senegal's heavy mineral sands has grown rapidly in view of the various opportunities they offer. The sand dunes along the Atlantic coastline are home to important deposits of industrial minerals such as zircon, titaniferous and ilmenite.
The eastern part of the country is rich in mineral resources, some of which are currently being exploited. Mining prospecting and geological mapping have revealed the following metallic and non-metallic minerals: platinum, chromium, silver, manganese, industrial clays, ornamental stones, etc.
Eastern Senegal also contains large reserves of good quality marble estimated at several million cubic metres. These marbles, of which there are up to six (06) varieties, are located mainly in Ndébou, Bandafassi and Ibel.
The country has created a conducive climate to investment through a simple, clear, transparent, flexible, competitive and non-discriminatory legal and regulatory framework, and has been able to attract investors for the revival and development of the traditional phosphate and cement industries, as well as the research and exploitation of gold, iron, marble, etc. in the Eastern Senegal region, and zirconium and titanium in the Grande Côte.
In the case of phosphates alone, the exploitation of deposits throughout the country, whose reserves are estimated at between 500 million and 1 billion tonnes, places Senegal among the top ten phosphate-producing countries in the world.
STRATEGIC POSITIONING OF SENEGAL
Senegal has been one of the world's leading phosphate producers, with the exploitation of the large lime phosphate deposits of Taïba, in the Thiès region.
The Senegalese subsoil contains a wide variety of mineral resources: iron, gold, copper, peat, copper, chromium, alumina phosphates, ceramic and industrial clays (attapulgite), ornamental stones (marble, granite, etc.), heavy sands (ilmenite, zircon, rutile), extra-siliceous sands (glass-making sand), diatomaceous earth, rock salt, etc.
Senegal boasts significant mining potential, but only phosphates and their derivatives (acids and fertilisers) and construction materials (stone bricks, cement, clay, aggregates, gypsum, sand and gravel) have so far dominated the sector.
The government has put in place incentives for the development of a wealth-generating mining sector under the Mining Code.
The objectives set should soon be exceeded with the implementation of the Emerging Senegal Plan projects, which offer clear opportunities to the private sector, notably :
- The development of the phosphate sector, thanks in particular to the exploitation of the Matam phosphate deposits and the production of fertiliser;
- The integrated Falémé iron project;
- Exploration and exploitation of open-pit mines
- Processing, handling and loading of mineral trains
- Rehabilitation of railway lines
- Construction of an ore port in Bargny
- Accelerating gold mining in the Kédougou region and zircon mining in the Grand Côte;
- Promotion of handwork mining, to make it a real opportunity for social and economic development. The implementation of these projects will be facilitated by the establishment of a real regional mining hub, making Senegal the reference area for mining services in the West African region.