Mineral Exploration in Africa
CIM Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2008
R. D. CORRANS, Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited, Johannesburg, South Africa
Africa is endowed with a number of the world's giant ore deposits which have contributed significantly to the development of their host countries. Mineral exploration has a long history in the continent, but mining on an unprecedented scale took off during the latter part of the 19th century, accompanied by the development of lines of communication and other infrastructure to service the major mining centres.
The "Winds of Change" which swept Africa in the 1950s and 1960s brought in new styles of government and economic management to a number of regions, often with demise of economic viability and infrastructure. In recent years, with the end of the cold war, collapse of communism and changes in South Africa, new opportunities for mineral exploration are opening up rapidly in Africa. However, due to the large cost, long lead-in time, and high risk of developing new mineral ventures in the continent, it is necessary for the host countries to draft realistic and favorable mineral laws and fiscal codes in order to attract, and not deter, potential mineral investors.
There will be an on-going role in mineral exploration throughout Africa for the artisanal miner, the smaller entrepreneurs and mining companies, exploration aid programs funded by the developed countries through African governments, as well as the major mining houses who have the resources to develop larger viable mineral deposits.