Natural Resources Including Petroleum Prospects
The following minerals have been identified in The Gambia following some mineral exploration programmes conducted with the lead participation of the Geological Department. The Government continues to monitor research findings on the possibility for more mineral deposits, especially those with higher marketing value whilst staying mindful of conservation and environmental preservation issues. There are known deposits of:
a) Quartz Sand
Large reserves of quartz (silica) sand, suitable for glass manufacture, have been identified in the Greater Banjul Area, notably in Abuko, Brufut, Darsilami (Western Division); Mbankam and Bakendik (North Bank Division); and Kaiaf, (Lower River Division). The Government continues to seek interested investors to exploit these deposits
b) Heavy Mineral Beach Sand Deposits
The raised beach sand, which is characteristic of The Gambia's coastal beaches, contain ilmenite, rutile, and zircon. The deposits were briefly mined in the past and recently the Government is keen in attracting interested investors in exploiting the deposits.
The estimated reserves of recoverable minerals yield a conservative total of about 995,000 tonnes at a 1% cut-off grade. Further investigations will be conducted to update the reserve base of these minerals.
Other minerals discovered in The Gambia, and on which significant research and development efforts are being concentrated to increase their economic and reserve value include:-
- Plastic Clay, and;
- Kaolinitic Clay [for use in making floor and wall tiles, sewer pipes, refractory (high temperature) bricks, etc]
- Placer Minerals
c) Hydro Carbon Potential
The Gambia depends on imported petroleum products. The government recognises the critical need for secure and stable supply of petroleum products and the need to stabilise prices to avoid induced inflation. The government therefore welcomes potential investors and collaborators in improving storage. In regards to petroleum prospects (hydro carbon potential), The Gambia has promising prospects and the government is relentlessly collecting, updating and storing the relevant seismic data and marketing the prospects to interested oil companies and businesses. The government is committed to continue this marketing in the hope of attracting prospectors.
d) Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
All liquefied petroleum gas in The Gambia is imported overland from Senegal. LPG is mostly used for domestic purposes and on a limited scale for industrial purposes. Transaction costs in importing and bottling gas have resulted in large price differentials between Senegal and The Gambia. This makes gas unaffordable to most Gambians, and hence constituting a severe limitation on the promotion of the use of LPG. The government is therefore committed to seek partners in establishing gas plants or bulk storage facilities to promote its use for domestic and industrial. Another justification of the government's commitment in this area is the environmental preservation potential of LPG in place of fuel wood.