Economics

What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Somalia?

Somalia has untapped reserves of numerous natural resources.

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Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that borders Djibouti, Ethiopia, Indian Ocean, the Guardafui Channel, and the Gulf of Eden. It has a total area of approximately 246,201 square miles, making it the 42nd largest country in the world. Somalia has the longest coastland on Africa’s mainland. The country is divided into 18 regions which are further subdivided into several districts. The population of Somalia is approximately 14 million people. Somalia one of the least developed countries in the world. It has an informal economy that is supported mainly by foreign remittance, telecommunication, and livestock. The economy consists of both modern and traditional production, with a systematic and gradual shift to modern industrial production.

Overview Of Natural Resources Of Somalia

Somalia is reported to hold large, untapped reserves of numerous natural resources such as iron ore, uranium, copper, tin, bauxite, gypsum, salt, and natural gas. Its proximity to countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia makes it a potential reserve of oil. These resources remain largely untapped and unexploited because of the poor infrastructure and the decades of civil war. For a long time, the country did not have a substantial government in place. However, following the end of the civil war, the country is slowly rebuilding, with several foreign companies already showing interest in investing in its mining industry. Somalia has a lot to do if has to rely on its minerals for revenue. Most experts believe that the oil and gas sector is likely to see some progress in the future. Here are some of the major resources of Somalia

Oil

Somalia’s proximity to the Gulf of Arab states such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia makes it a huge potential for oil reserve. However, oil has not been exploited in the country, though certain foreign companies such as Chinese Oil Company have been granted a license to find minerals including oil. The Government of Somalia has also created the Somalia Petroleum Company to supervise and control petroleum exploration in the country. Range Resource, an oil group based in Sydney estimates that the Puntland province in the north of Somalia has the potential to produce 5-10 million barrels of oil. Oil exploration in the region began in the 2000s with a series of negotiations between the government and foreign companies. In 2012, the government okayed the first official oil exploration in Puntland. The exploration was led by Africa Oil, a Canadian oil company, and Range Resources. The Shabeel-1 well became the first to yield oil.

Gypsum

It is believed that Somalia has one of the largest gypsum reserves in the world. Ginn Mineral Technology is currently working in Somalia to develop one of the world’s largest gypsum deposits. The deposit is located in Berbera and has been exposed for many miles, extending for approximately 5 miles. The Berbera gypsum is located approximately 14 miles from the nearby port, making the transportation of gypsum very easy. This deposit is known to contain millions of tons of good grade gypsum and anhydrite. It is estimated that there are more than 13 million tons of greater than 90% pure gypsum and about 9 million metric tons of greater than 85% pure gypsum. GMT Minerals intends to establish the handling and processing plant near the deposit. The plant is expected to process about 2 million tons of gypsum every year and also produce homogenized products for calcination and pulverization.

Uranium

Uranium was discovered in Somalia in the late 1960s by UN geologists who also discovered several other minerals in the country. The reserve was one of the largest in the world, with researchers estimating that the country’s deposits accounted for 25% of the world’s known uranium reserves which was approximately 800,000 tons. In 1984, the country was reported to hold about 5,000 tons of the mineral reasonable assured resource, 11,000 tons of estimated additional resource of calcrete deposits, and possibly 150,000 tons of speculative resources. Somalia was once a world’s major uranium supplier, with the United Arab Emirates, the US, Brazilian, and Italian mineral companies competing for mining rights. Uranium exploration and mining in Somalia have been hindered by the Al-Shabaab militia group which has captured some of the main deposits, especially in the Galmudug region. The group has been accused of illegally exporting Uranium to Iran in exchange for weapons.

Wildlife

The wildlife of Somalia is composed of both flora and fauna. The country has six national parks and several other game reserves including Hargeisa National Park, Daallo Mountain, Kismayo National Park, and Jilib National Parks. These national parks contain a wide variety of wildlife including about 120 mammals and 725 birds. Some of the common wild animals include elephant and lion which, to an extent have been driven from the northern coast districts, rhinos, spotted hyena, jackals, foxes, and badgers. However, the wildlife of Somalia has been disturbed by the many years of violence and civil unrest in the country. Several organizations such as the Somali Ecological Society and Somali Environmental Protection and Anti-Desertification Organization are currently involved in efforts to protect the remaining forests and wild animals.

Salt

Somalia once had the biggest salt factory in the world. The Hafun Salt Factory was established in the Hafun area in northern Italian Somalia. The factory was destroyed by fire during the British conquest of Italian East Africa. Before the destruction of the salt factory, the plant produced about 200,000 metric tons of salt which were mainly exported to Far East Asia. After two decades of civil unrest, Somalia is seeking to revive the salt sector in the Hafun and Hurdiyo regions. Somalis in the diaspora have also supported the initiative and are currently mobilizing funds to help in the salt mining in the coastal sea.

Other Minerals Of Somalia

In recent years, several other minerals have been produced in Somalia including gemstone, sandstone, niobium, granite, tantalum, and marble. It also has deposits of several other non-metallic minerals such as kaolin, silica sand, feldspar, and limestone. These minerals are mainly explored by artisan miners on a small scale. There are also small deposits of copper and iron ore in the country.

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