When it comes to the stuff bling is made of, Africa is enormously bountiful. Its mineral deposits make it one of the richest natural-resource-laden places on Earth and everyone wants some. The following are the most mineral-rich countries in Africa.
1. Botswana – Diamonds
Botswana is home to 35 percent of Africa’s diamonds, most of which are gem quality, and is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value. While the country also produces other minerals including copper, gold, nickel, and soda ash, diamonds remain Botswana’s main industry and account for the bulk of its gross domestic product.
2. South Africa – Diamonds, Gold, Aluminum, Copper, Platinum, Coal
South Africa has been the richest economy on the continent, in large part thanks to its enormous mining industry. While diamonds and gold constituted the largest portion of South Africa’s initial mining interests, the discovery of many other minerals allowed the country to diversify its investments. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium, and vermiculite, and the second-largest producer of ilmenite, palladium, rutile, and zirconium.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo – Diamonds, Copper
The Democratic Republic of Congo is estimated to have more than $24 trillion worth of untapped raw mineral ore deposits, but even so it remains one of the greatest producers of diamonds (34 percent) and copper (13 percent) in Africa. However, the DRC continues to suffer from corruption and crime, and has been forced to shut down many mining operations to curb illegal activity.
4. Ghana – Gold
Ghana’s export trade is significantly bolstered by its mineral riches — 37 percent of total exports are minerals. Ghana is Africa’s second-largest producer of gold after South Africa, and holds more than 15 percent of the continent’s supply. Of the country’s mineral exports, gold contributes more than 90 percent. Ghana has also begun exploring further when it comes to mining its bauxite, manganese, and diamond reserves, but gold remains the focus.
5. Zambia – Copper
Zambia is home to somewhere between 65 percent to 77 percent of Africa’s copper supply, far and away the leading producer in Africa. With several prolific mines, the country is able to create jobs for its citizens while contributing to the nation’s overall gross domestic product. Being a good conductor of heat, copper is used mostly for electrical wiring in the building construction industries. It’s also alloyed with iron and other metals to make brass and bronze and it’s used to make cook ware.