AFRICA (RU: Африка) is the second largest mainland after Eurasia.
General facts. The area of Africa is 29.2 million square kilometres (30.3 million square kilometres with the islands, approximately 1/5 of the area of the dry land of the Earth's globe). The population is 497.6 million persons (1982). The extreme northern cape, namely, the Cape El Abyad, is situated at the 37 degrees 20 minutes of the north latitude, the extreme southern cape, namely, the Cape Agulhas, is situated at the 34 degrees 52 minutes of the south latitude. The distance from the north to the south is approximately 8000 kilometres, the width at the north between the Almadies and Hafun capes is 7400 kilometres, at the south is approximately 3100 kilometres.
There wash Africa at the north and north-east the Mediterranean sea and the Red sea, at the east the Indian ocean, and at the west the Atlantic ocean. Africa is the mainland of the compact shape, with slightly dissected surface. The shores are prevalently straight, steep. The largest bay, namely, the Guinea Bay, is at the west of the mainland. The largest peninsula, namely, the Somali peninsula, is at the east. There belong to Africa the islands: at the east, Madagascar, Comoro, Mascarene, Amirante, Seychelles, Pemba, Mafia, Zanzibar, Socotra; at the west, Madeira, Canary, Cape Verde, Pagalu, Sao Tome and Principe, Bioko, and the three islands far away from the mainland, Ascension, Saint Helena, Tristan da Cunha.
As the result of the disintegration of the colonial system of imperialism, there have been established within Africa more than 40 independent states (1981), which are covering 95% of the territories of the continent. After reaching the political independence, the African countries have entered into the new stage of the popular liberation movement, namely, the fight for the overcoming of the social-economic retardation, and for the economic liberation from imperialism. Most states of Africa are the developing countries with low level of economic development. Within Africa, which is one of the most rich parts of the world in terms of the natural resources, the share of the liberated countries accounts for less than 1% of the worldwide industrial production. The characteristic features of the economy within the most countries of Africa are the low level of the development of the productive forces, the mixed types of the economy, and the disproportions within its development (prevalently the specialization for the raw materials, and the export orientation of the major sectors of the economy, the narrowness of the internal market, and others). Within the most African countries, there provide 40-60% of the national income the agricultural production and the mining-extracting industry, which are, with their significant part, specialised for the export. The share of the processing industry is non-significant, and ranges from 13%-25% within Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Zambia, to 1%-5% within Niger, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Lesotho, Uganda.
Within the fuel-energy balance of Africa, 42.5% is accounted for coal, 46.5% for the liquid fuel, 6% for the natural gas, and 5% for the hydraulic energy (1980). Within the developing countries of Africa, there are consumed 203 kilograms of the conventional fuel per capita per year, which is by 2 times less, than for the entire group of the developing countries (1980). More than 80% of the foreign trade turnover of the countries within Africa is accounted for the industrially developed capitalistic states. The crisis phenomena within the worldwide capitalistic economy (energy and raw materials, currency, and others) adversely impact the foreign trade balance of many African countries, lead to the worsening of their export and import opportunities, and so on. Within the sphere of the foreign trade, the majority of the African states conduct the fight for the rebuilding of the unequal economic relations with the developed capitalistic countries, oppose the dominant position of the international monopolies on the worldwide capitalistic market, which are controlling the sales of the African raw materials and other products, and also the deliveries into Africa of the equipment, machines, industrial products, and food.
Within Africa, there intensify the integration processes, proceeds the development of the inter-African economic, commercial, and other connections. There has been created the wide network of the regional organizations and groupings, research centres, and so on (the Economic community of the West Africa, the African bank for the development, the Association for the assistance to the inter-African trade, the African union of the railways, the Institute for the economic development and planning, the Centre for the industrial researches, and others). There are undertaken the joint efforts for the mastering of the natural resources, and for their usage according to the interests of the national development. The series of the African countries participates within the large interstate associations for the production and sales of the certain types of the produce, for example within the OPEC (the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), and others (for the copper, phosphates, bauxites, and so on). There assigns within its activity the significant attention to the issues of the development of the economic cooperation among the countries of the continent the Organization for the African unity (OAU).
The USSR and other countries of the socialistic community provide the large and multilateral assistance to the states of Africa for their fight for the political and economic liberation. With the participation of the USSR, there are constructed within Africa, according to the intergovernmental agreements, approximately 600 objects, and by the start of the 1981, 295 of them have been put into the operation. There are among them the metallurgical plants within Algeria (the El-Hajjar city, the productive capacity is 2 million tonnes), and within Nigeria (the Ajaokuta city, the productive capacity is 1.3 million tonnes), the bauxite complex within Guinea (the productive capacity is 2.5 million tonnes), the enterprise for the production of mercury within Algeria. With the help of the Soviet geologists, there are performed the explorative works for petroleum, natural gas, iron ores, mineral coals, non-metallic raw materials, barite ores, phosphates, bauxites, and so on, within the Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Libya, Madagascar, and other countries. The USSR provides the help for the training of the national cadres for the mining industry. The cooperation of the countries within Africa with the socialistic countries is directed onto the overcoming of the social-economic retardation of the African states, assists to the progressive change of their economic structure, to the development of the material-technical base for the achieving of the economic independence.
Nature. There prevail within the relief the terraced plains, plateaus and highlands, which are crowned with numerous outliers and volcanoes. The largest north-western part of Africa has the heights of less than 100 metres (the so named Low Africa), the south-eastern part of the mainland is slightly raised at the height of more than 1000 metres (the High Africa). The plains and plateaus occupy prevalently the internal regions, and are usually confined to the extensive tectonic depressions (Kalahari within the South Africa, the Congo depression within the Central Africa, the Nigeria, Chad, White Nile within Sudan, and others). The uplands and mountainous ridges are situated mainly along the margins of the mainland, namely, the Atlas mountains with the Toubkal peak (4165 metres) at the north, the Ethiopian highland with the Ras-Dashan mountain (4620 metres) at the north-east, the East African highland, the Drakensberg and Cape mountains at the east and south, and others. The eastern margin of Africa from the Zambezi river to the Red sea is broken by the world's greatest system of the rifts (see the "East African rift system" article), which are sometimes occupied by the large lakes (Nyasa, Tanganyika, and others), and are framed by the blocky mountains and extinct volcanoes (Kilimanjaro, 5895 metres; Kenya, 5199 metres, and others). The lowlands within Africa occupy small areas, mainly along the coasts of the oceans and seas, in the shape of the strips with the width of at most several tens of kilometres.
Africa is intersected almost at the middle by the equator, to the north and south of which are situated the identical climatic zones. Outside the zone of the equatorial climate, there follow the zones of the equatorial monsoon climates, then of the tropical and subtropical climates.
Africa is the hottest of the mainlands. During the period of the summer within the Northern hemisphere, the average monthly temperatures within the northern part of Africa exceed 25-30 degrees Celsius (within the Sahara desert), and within the southern part exceed 12-25 degrees Celsius. During the period of the summer within the Southern hemisphere, the average monthly temperatures within the northern part of Africa decrease to 10-25 degrees Celsius, and within the southern part exceed 30 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Celsius at the south-west of the Kalahari desert). The greatest quantity of precipitation falls within the equatorial latitudes (1500-2000 millimetres and more per year). As the distance from the equator increases, the quantity of precipitation decreases, reaching the minimum (100 millimetres and less) within the Sahara desert, within the desert and semi-desert regions of the South Africa. As the consequence of the general inclination of the mainland from the East to the West, the greatest runoff of the surface waters is directed into the Atlantic ocean, into which there inflow the Congo, Niger, Senegal, Gambia, and Orange rivers; there inflows into the Mediterranean sea the Nile river; there inflows into the Indian ocean the Zambezi river. Approximately 1/3 of the area of Africa belongs to the regions of the internal drainage and to the non-draining basins, which are having only the sparse network of the temporary water streams. Almost all large lakes of Africa (the Tanganyika, Victoria, Nyasa, and others) lie within the tectonic depressions on the East African highland. There prevail within the arid regions the salt lakes (the Lake Chad, and others). Within the deserts and semi-deserts within Africa, there have the great significance the underground waters, both the ground ones, which are usually embedded under the riverbeds of the temporary water streams, and the deeper ones, which are enclosed prevalently within the continental Lower Cretaceous sandstones of the Sahara and North Sudan, where they form the large artesian basins (the Great Saharan artesian basin, Libyan artesian basin, Nigerian artesian basin, and others).
Within the South Africa, the underground waters accumulate prevalently within the cracks of the bedrocks, within the sandstones and karsted limestones of the Karru system. Africa has the rich resources of the mineral and thermal waters, where serves as the most powerful factor for the formation of which the volcanism within the East Africa, where there are active 40 volcanoes, numerous fumarolic solfataras with the temperature of the sulfurous, hydrogen sulfide, halogenous, and carbon dioxide gases of up to 160-220 degrees Celsius. The carbonated mineral waters are characteristic for the Atlas, East Africa, Cameroon, Madagascar, and other regions.
Within the North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia), there are known the chloride, nitrogen, radioactive, and other water sources. There occupy more than 2/3 of the area of the mainland the savannas and deserts; there are distributed within the equatorial zone the wet evergreen forests, on the coasts the thickets of the evergreen sclerophyllous shrubs.
Geological structure and metallogeny. The pre-Cambrian craton occupies almost all territory of Africa, excluding the Atlas mountain system at the extreme north-west, and the Cape folded zone at the south. Till the recent geological time (end of Cretaceous - Oligocene) the African (African-Arabian) craton also included the Arabian peninsula and the Madagascar island, which are now separated from the main part of the craton by the rift zones of the gulf of Suez, Red sea, gulf of Aden at the north-east, and the Mozambique channel at the east (see the map).
They suppose, that during the early-Mesozoic and Paleozoic time the African-Arabian craton was the part of the Gondwana supercontinent.
The basement of Africa, which is formed by the metamorphic strata and granites of the pre-Cambrian, exposes itself at many places of the mainland, and has very diverse composition. The deeply metamorphosed rocks of the early pre-Cambrian form three main megablocks, namely, the Western, Central, and Southern, which are separated and fringed by the Late Cambrian folded belts, namely, by the Mauritian-Senegalese, Libyan-Nigerian, which are passing through the Central Sahara (Ahaggar), by the Namibian-Ugandan and Arabian-Mozambique. Outside of these major belts, there extend themselves along the Atlantic coast of the Equatorial and South Africa the Western Congolides folded system, and along the Namaqualand the Capides folded system. The consolidation of the early pre-Cambrian megablocks has started at the certain places yet during the Archean, and has completed itself by the middle of the Proterozoic. Above the crystalline basement, which is formed of the Archean blocks (gneisses, crystalline schists, basic metavolcanites, which are forming the so-named greenstone belts, granitoids), there is developed within certain places the slightly inclined Lower Proterozoic cratonic cover (clastic rocks, basaltic covers, and sills). The late pre-Cambrian folded belts are formed by the sedimentary and volcanogenic rocks, less often by the metamorphosed rocks. There are developed within several of these belts the exclusively sedimentary formations, namely, the quartzites, shales, dolomites, tillites and tilloids (the Namibian-Ugandan belt, Western Congolides), within other belts the volcanites and even ophiolites (Mauritanides, Saharides, the northern part of the Arabian-Mozambique belt). There have actively manifested themselves within the Namibian-Ugandan belt the epochs of the tectonic deformations at the boundaries of approximately 1300 and 1000 million years ago, which were accompanied by the granite forming; the geosynclinal conditions following the last of these epochs have recovered themselves only on the more limited area within the south-western part of the belt. The late pre-Cambrian geosynclinal belts as a whole have experienced the conclusive deformations and the introduction of granites during the end of the Proterozoic - start of the Paleozoic. Thus, the complete consolidation of the basement of the African-Arabian craton has concluded itself during the start of the Paleozoic. The conclusive epoch of the tectonic activity has also touched the megablocks, which have been formed by the Lower pre-Cambrian rocks, thus causing their tectonic-magmatic activation and reprocessing. There belong to the composition of the late pre-Cambrian mobile belts not only the rocks of the corresponding age, but also the more ancient early pre-Cambrian formations, which have been subjected to the deep reprocessing, and of which there is formed the practically entire southern part of the Arabian-Mozambique belt from the Somali peninsula to the south.
During the early and middle Paleozoic, the northern half of the craton underwent the smooth submersions and transgression of the sea, with deposition of the shallow sedimentary cover of the carbonate-terrigenous (limestones, sandstones, argillites) composition, which is widely developed within the Sahara desert (the Saharan plate) and within the eastern part of the Arabian peninsula (the Arabian pericratonal submersion). During the middle of the Carboniferous, simultaneously with the diastrophism at the north within the Mediterranean belt, particularly within the Maghreb, the northern part of the craton has undergone the deformations of the large-radius bending of the latitudinal direction, which is parallel to the folding of the Maghreb. At this time, the Saharan-Arabian plate has differentiated itself into the North-Saharan and South-Saharan (Sahel-Sudan) zones of submersion, the Central-Saharan and Guinean zones of uplifts. The North-Saharan zone of the submersions is accompanied at the north by the Anti-Atlas and Dzhefary marginal uplifts, and the Tindouf and Western-Saharan syneclises, which are belonging to her, are separated by the Ugarte intra-cratonic Hercynian folded zone along the north-western direction. There serves as the separation between the western and eastern Saharan syneclises the northern buried spur of the Ahaggar massif between the Eastern-Saharan and Eastern-Libyan syneclises, namely, the Jebel-Haruj vault, the spur of the Tibesti massif. Within the Central-Saharan strip of the uplifts, the Reguibat massif is separated from the Ahaggar massif by the Tanezruft downfold, which is merging at the south with the Taoudenni syneclise; between the Ahaggar and Tibesti massifs, there wedges itself from the north the Murzuq syneclise, and between the Tibesti and Auenat massifs, there wedges itself the Kufra syneclise.
During the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic, many of the listed depressions continued to fold themselves downward, but served as the arena for the accumulation of the continental red coloured sediments. The sea penetrated into them during the certain times only from the north from the Tethys side; there are known within the Eastern-Saharan syneclise the thick evaporites of the Triassic age. During the end of the Early Cretaceous, within the peak of the modern gulf of Guinea, there has formed itself the Benue graben of the north-eastern strike, which has separated the Benin-Nigerian pre-Cambrian massif from the Cameroon massif, which belongs to the Central African Early pre-Cambrian megablock. During the Late Cretaceous, the Benue graben (aulacogene) was filled with the marine sediments, and during the end of the Cretaceous, it has experienced the inversion and folding. Within the lower flow of the Niger river, the Benue graben joins at the right angle with the lower Nigerian graben of the north-western strike, and after the certain pause, it continues along the same direction on the territory of the modern Mali by the Gao graben, which has divided the Ahaggar and Leone-Liberian massifs. During the Late Cretaceous time, the North-Saharan zone of the submersions underwent the wide marine transgression, which has also covered the narrow strip along the northern coast and coastal shelf of the gulf of Guinea. During the Turonian and early Senonian, the sea has penetrated into the Tanezruft downfold, into the Gao and Lower Nigerian grabens, possibly forming the channel between the Tethys ocean and the newly formed Atlantic ocean.
The southern half of the mainland evolved during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic in the substantially different manner. During the large part of the Paleozoic (till the Late Carboniferous) it remained almost entirely the region of the uplift and water erosion, and only at the extreme south, within the Cape zone, there are known the marine or paralic depositions of the Ordovician - Silurian, and of the Devonian - Lower Carboniferous. During the Late Carboniferous - start of the Permian, simultaneously with the intensified uplifts, which were accompanied by the cover glaciation, there has started the splitting of the craton, with the forming of the system of the grabens and downfolds (the largest of them is the Karru syneclise at the extreme south of the craton). These depressions were consequently filled with the glacial depositions of the Upper Carboniferous, coal-bearing depositions of the Lower Permian, red coloured depositions of the Upper Permian - Triassic, which are constituting the so-named Karru complex system. At the end of the Triassic - start of the Jurassic, there has emerged the flash of the basaltic (trap) volcanism. During the late Jurassic - early Cretaceous, the graben forming and the trap magmatism have re-started themselves within the certain places, particularly on the territory of the modern Namibia, there has emerged the chain of the sub-volcanic ring-shaped plutons of the north-eastern direction. There belongs to this time the forming of the large Congo syneclise within the sub-Saharan Africa, which continued during the Cenozoic to fold itself downward, and to fill itself with the continental depositions. There are also known along its sides at the west and north the Riphean cratonic depositions, which are indicating, that originally the syneclise has outlined itself yet during the late pre-Cambrian; the same statement is also valid for the Taoudenni syneclise within the West Africa.
African-Arabian craton is framed on all sides by the zones of the peripheral subsidences; their forming in the almost modern shape has completed during the late Cretaceous time, although the start was not simultaneous. There have the most ancient age the northern zone of the peripheral subsidences, which is covering the Mediterranean coast and coastal shelf, and also the north-eastern part of the Arabian peninsula; it is associated according to its development with the Tethys ocean, and has been laid down during the Cambrian. There have the significantly younger age the peripheral subsidences, which are associated with the Atlantic and Indian oceans. The northern segment of the Peri-Atlantic zone, namely, the Mauritanian-Senegalese one, developed itself since the Late Jurassic; there also has the analogous or slightly younger age (since the start of the Cretaceous) the southern segment of this zone, from the Kunene river to the south. The intermediate part of the zone has started to submerge itself during the Aptian - Albian, while at the early stage (Aptian), there has formed itself the thick layer of evaporites. The eastern peripheral zone of the craton, which is attracted to the Indian ocean and Mozambique channel, has been laid down in the form of the rift yet during the end of the Carboniferous - start of the Permian, which ensured the short-time penetration of the Permian and Triassic transgressions into the region of the eastern coast of Africa and of the western coast of Madagascar, with the forming of evaporites during the lower times of Jurassic. Starting since the middle Jurassic, the marine conditions have become more stable, and the further upward section of the peripheral zone includes, especially at the north (on the territory of the modern Somalia), the very thick stratum of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic depositions.
Since the end of the Eocene - start of the Oligocene, the African-Arabian craton has started to experience yet more intense general uplift, especially within its eastern part, which was accompanied during the Miocene with the forming of the East African rift system (including the rifts of the Red sea and gulf of Aden), and with the flash of the volcanic activity. The latter one has led to the emergence of the stratovolcanoes: Kenya, Kilimanjaro, Elgon, and others. On the smaller scale, the rift forming has manifested itself at the north of the craton (on the territory of the modern Libya), where stretches the southern end of the West European rift system; the largest graben here is the Sirte one, which has been laid down during the late Cretaceous. There have also experienced here the tectonic-magmatic activation during the Neogene the certain other parts of the craton, namely, the Ahaggar, Tibesti, Cameroon massifs, where has also manifested itself the volcanism. The regions of the relative submersions and accumulation of the continental sediments during the Cenozoic, namely, the Chad, Congo, Okavango, Kalahari syneclises, have formed the meridional strip of the subsidences, which is passing through the central regions of the Equatorial and South Africa. African-Arabian craton as a whole, during the entire Phanerozoic, distinguished itself with the high magmatic activity, where are the consequence of which the meridionally extending chains of the annular ultrabasic alkaline intrusions, and also of the carbonatites and kimberlites, mainly of the Late Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic ages; they are especially known within Algeria (the south-eastern spur of the Ahaggar), within Leone-Liberian massif, on the Jos plateau within Nigeria, within Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania.
There occupies the extreme north-western part of Africa within the limits of the Maghreb countries the Hercynian-Alpine folded region of the Atlas mountains with the west-south-western - east-north-eastern strike. It is separated from the craton by the zone of the main Atlas fault, which has stretched itself from Agadir to Bizerte. The large southern part of the Atlas region is formed by the Hercynian (Cambrian - Lower Carboniferous) folded complex with individual depressions, which are filled with the Upper Paleozoic continental molasse.
Within the limits of the Moroccan and Ouran plateaus, this complex either emerges on the surface, or is overlain by the thin cover of the Triassic lagoonal, Jurassic-Eocene marine, and Oligocene-Quaternary continental depositions. There is within the southern framing of the region the mountainous folded zone of the High Atlas, which has formed itself within the place of the deep downfold, which has been filled with the significantly thicker stratum of the Triassic - Eocene, and which has been moderately deformed during the end of the Eocene. The analogous zone of the north-eastern strike, namely, the Middle Atlas, separates the Moroccan and Ouran plateaus.
There stretches along the Mediterranean coast the Er-Rif and Tel-Atlas young Alpine folded system, which is formed by the carbonatic and flyschic strata of the Mesozoic and Paleogene, which are forming the numerous tectonic nappes, which are displaced to the south; there exist the individual protrusions of the pre-Mesozoic metamorphic foundation. The Er-Rif and Tel-Atlas are accompanied at the south by the foredeeps, which are filled with the Miocene molasse, onto which they have been thrusted.
At the extreme north-west, the Er-Rif folded zone turns to the north, forming the southern flank of the Gibraltar arc, where form the northern flank of which the Andalusian mountains at the Iberian peninsula.
Metallogeny. In accordance with the peculiarities of the geological structure of Africa, there are developed on its territory the deposits of the useful minerals of the main metallogenic epochs: the Archean, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic-Cenozoic.
The deposits of the Archaean epoch are concentrated within the Western, Central, and Southern megablocks of the basement of Africa, and are associated with the rocks of the basaltic and granitic series. There belong to the basaltoids the ancient deposits of the gold, chromium, nickel, platinum ores, and also of the asbestos. There are associated with granitoids the most ancient pegmatites with the lithium and beryllium ores.
The Proterozoic metallogeny is more diverse and economically more significant. At this time, there have formed themselves the three main groups of the deposits: the postmagmatic granitoid deposits of the uranium (Rossing), gold-copper (Okip), polymetallic (Tsumeb) ores, and also of the Proterozoic rare-metallic pegmatites within Africa; the magmatic deposits of the basaltic series, which are associated with the Proterozoic layered intrusions of the period of the activation of the Archaean craton, which are most brightly expressed within the Bushveld complex of the Republic of South Africa, and within the Great Dike of Zimbabwe with the deposits of the chromium ores, titanium magnetites, nickel, and platinoids; the stratiform deposits of the ferruginous quartzites, of the tabular bodies of the copper, cobalt, and uranium ores within the famous copper belt of the Central Africa, of the ore-bearing conglomerates within the Witwatersrand of the South Africa, with their large reserves of gold and uranium.
The Paleozoic metallogenic epoch is characterized by the weakening of the processes of the forming of the deposits of the useful minerals of Africa. During this time, within the rocks of the Paleozoic cratonic cover, and within the geosynclines of the North Africa, there have emerged the non-significant stratiform deposits of the lead-zinc ores of the Atlas mountains, and also the fields of the petroleum and gas of the Sahara-Mediterranean petroleum-and-gas-bearing basin, of the Algerian-Libyan basin, and of the basin of the gulf of Suez.
The Mesozoic-Cenozoic metallogenic epoch has manifested itself within Africa in the forming of the geosynclinal deposits of the Atlas mountains, which are represented by the ores of lead, zinc, and mercury, and in the emergence of the deposits, which are associated with the manifestation of the Mesozoic-Cenozoic tectonic-magmatic activation of the African craton; there belong to them the controlled by the rift zones diamond-bearing kimberlites, and the rare-metallic (niobium, rare earth elements) carbonatites, and also the plateau-basaltic fields of the traps, with the lateritic bauxites, which have formed themselves on these traps. At the same time, there have emerged the sedimentary deposits of the Arabian-African phosphorite-bearing province, and also the famous fields of the petroleum and gas of the North, East, and West Africa.
|(Table) The extraction of the major types of the mineral raw materials|
|Mineral raw material||Start of the extraction||1913||1937||1950||1960||1970||1975||1978||1980|
|Petroleum, million tonnes||1911||0.014||0.2||2.4||14.2||292.8||243.8||298.2||308.8|
|Natural gas, billion cubic metres||1955||-||-||-||0.1||3.4||11.7||21.0||21.0|
|Mineral coal, million tonnes||1868||8.21||17.07||29.6||43.27||58.7||72.0||89.8||128.3|
|Uranium ores (1), thousand tonnes||1921||-||1.05||0.8||7.0||4.26||5.16||9.85||14.9|
|Iron ores, million tonnes||1865||1.97||5.97||7.03||15.47||57.8||64.3||57.5||60.16|
|Manganese ores, million tonnes||1916||
|Chromium ores, million tonnes||1913||0.06||0.55||0.80||1.38||1.97||2.77||3.8||4.12|
|Vanadium ores (1), thousand tonnes||1913||0.55||0.83||0.18||1.0||13.9||20.0||21.3||20.3|
|Bauxites, million tonnes||1941||-||-||0.13||1.58||3.16||11.64||13.11||14.40|
|Copper ores (2), million tonnes||1904||0.008||0.42||0.5||0.98||1.28||1.49||1.37||1.36|
|Lead ores (2), thousand tonnes||1868||6.2||52.3||120||210||212.6||163.5||172.6||282|
|Zinc ores (2), thousand tonnes||1868||38.8||37.1||131.8||267||262||292||252.6||240|
|Tin ores (2), thousand tonnes||1905||6.6||22||23.3||21.1||19.6||15.1||12.2||11.9|
|Mercury ores (3), tonnes||1880||-||5||-||6||3||970.0||1036.0||1034|
|Antimony ores (2), thousand tonnes||1886||0.18||1.4||10.75||13.49||19.21||16.46||11.13||13.79|
|Cobalt ores (3), thousand tonnes||1910||0.2||2.94||6.22||11.39||17.37||21.58||15.76||19.17|
|Gold ores (3), tonnes||15 v.||299||435||418||725||1046||758||742||704.7|
|Platinum ores (3), tonnes||1924||-||1.88||4.72||12.64||46.75||81.5||91.8||105.0|
|Diamonds, million carats||1890||6.89||9.33||15.02||28.75||35.14||30.43||28.02||33.94|
|Phosphorites, million tonns||1893||2.77||4.31||6.54||11.21||19.46||25.65||29.86||29.95|
|(1) Окисел в концентрате, (2) Metal within the concentrate, (3) In term-s of the extra|
Useful minerals. There have been determined within Africa the deposits of almost all known types of the mineral raw materials. Among other continents, Africa holds the 1st place in the reserves of the manganese, chromium ores, bauxites, gold, platinoids, cobalt, diamonds, phosphorites, fluorite, the 2nd place in the reserves of the ores of copper, asbestos, uranium, antimony, the 3rd place in the reserves of petroleum, gas, ores of mercury, the 4th place in the reserves of the iron ores; there are also significant the reserves of the ores of titanium, vanadium, nickel, bismuth, lithium, beryllium, tantalum, niobium, tin, tungsten, the reserves of the precious stones, and the other useful minerals (see the map).
Energetical resources. The first reservoirs of petroleum and gas within Africa have been discovered within the limits of the narrow strip on the coast of the gulf of Suez, and within the intermontane depressions of the system of the Atlas mountains during the end of the 19th - 1st half of the 20th centuries (including the first industrial field of petroleum during the 1880 within the northern Algeria). During the start of the 20th century, on the southern shore of the gulf of Suez (the territory of Egypt), there have been uncovered more than 10 relatively large petroleum fields (including the Gems, Hurghada, Ras-Gharib, and others). The period of the 40-ies - 50-ies years was characterized by systematic geological-geophysical researches of Africa, including the extensive development of the prospecting-explorative works for petroleum and gas. There has emerged as the result of these researches the discovery during the 1956 of the giant fields of petroleum (Hassi Messaoud) and gas (Hassi R'Mel) within the Algerian Sahara, and later within the other regions of Africa, namely, within Gabon (Pointe Clairette, Ozuri, Animba, and others), Angola (Benfica, Luanda, and others), Nigeria (Okan), Libyan Sahara (Selten). According to the reserves of petroleum and gas, Africa gives way to Asia (Near and Middle East), and also to North America.
According to the data at the start of the 1982, the reserves of petroleum within Africa have amounted to 7182 million tonnes (or 11% of the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries). The explored reserves of natural gas (prevalently of the methane composition) amount to approximately 6 trillion cubic metres, or 10.6% of the reserves of the developed capitalistic and developing countries (at the start of the 1982). The major regions of concentration of petroleum and gas are concentrated within the Mediterranean regional zone of downfold, namely, within the Sahara-Mediterranean basin (Egypt, Libya), Algerian-Libyan basin (Algeria, Tunisia, Libya), and within the basin of the gulf of Suez (Egypt), and also within the zone of the pericratonic downfolds of the West Africa, namely, within the basin of the gulf of Guinea (Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Angola, Zaire). The individual reservoirs of petroleum and gas have been identified within many other countries of Africa (Morocco, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin, Chad, Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mozambique). There are significant the prospects of the petroleum-and-gas-bearing property within the limits of the coastal shelf of the Mediterranean sea, Atlantic and Indian oceans. According to estimates, there is accounted for the share of the North Africa (mainly Libya and Algeria) 60% of all identified fields, with which there are associated approximately 70% of the explored reserves of petroleum and gas on the continent. Here are concentrated almost all the giant and largest fields. There belong to the list of the giant fields: the petroleum ones, Hassi Messaoud, Selten, Jala, Serir (with the reserves of more than 500 million tonnes each), and the gas one, Hassi R'Mel.
The giant and largest (with the reserves of petroleum of more than 100 million tonnes, and with the reserves of gas of more than 100 billion cubic metres) fields account for only 4% of the total quantity of the identified fields of Africa (640 fields), nevertheless, there are enclosed within them more than 50% of the reserves of petroleum and gas; moreover, 70% of the reserves of petroleum, and almost all reserves of gas, are located at the depth of 1-3 kilometres, and only 30% of the reserves of petroleum, and 2% of the reserves of gas (less studied), are located at the depth of 3-5 kilometres. All of the above mentioned fields are confined to the complexes of the rocks from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic inclusive.
The reserves of all the types of the coals within Africa amount to 274.3 billion tonnes, of which the measured ones amount to 125.1 billion tonnes (the start of the 1980). The majority of the reserves of the coals consist of the mineral coals and anthracite; the reserves of the brown coals are estimated at only 160 million tonnes, including the measured reserves of 120 million tonnes. More than 70% of the reserves of the coals are accounted for the Republic of South Africa, Botswana (approximately 20%) holds the 2nd place, Zimbabwe (2.5%) holds the third place. The major coal deposits within the Republic of South Africa are concentrated within the eastern part of the country (the Witbank basin, the Springs, Heidelberg, Breiten, Ermelo-Carolina, Waterberg, Springbok-Flats, Vereeniging, Utrecht, Vryheid, and other deposits). The first deposits have been discovered during the 1699 (Cape province) and the 1840 (Natal), but the industrial operation has started since the 1868, when there has been discovered the Witbank basin within the Transvaal province (Republic of South Africa). Within Botswana, the largest basins are the Mamabule and Marapule (at the east of the country); within Zimbabwe, the Hwange basin (the north-western part of the country). Among the other countries of Africa, there possess the significant reserves of coal the Swaziland, Mozambique, Nigeria, Madagascar, Tanzania, Zambia; there are also known the deposits of coal within Zaire, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and other countries. Within Zaire, within the valleys of the Lualaba and Lomami rivers, there exist the large depositions of the oil shales. The reserves of uranium within the deposits of Africa, which are profitable for the development, are estimated at 900 thousand tonnes (in terms of the U3O8 compound). The largest of them are the Rossing and Trekkopje pegmatitic deposits within Namibia. The age of the ore-bearing granite-pegmatites is the after-Damaran one (510 million years).
The significant reserves of uranium exist within Niger, within the Carboniferous sedimentary strata of the Imouraren, Arlit, and Akouta deposits, within Gabon, within the Proterozoic sedimentary strata of the Moonana, Oklo, Boyindzi deposits, within Algeria, within the Abankor and Timgauin hydrothermal deposits, within Mali (Kidal, Thessaly deposits), and within Zaire (Shinkolobwe magmatogenic veinous deposit). The large reserves of uranium are enclosed within the gold-bearing conglomerates of the pre-Cambrian at the south of Africa, within the Republic of South Africa (Witwatersrand). There are also known the Alliot-Gelle large hydrothermal deposit of uranium, thorium, and rare earth elements within Somalia, the pre-Cambrian sedimentary ones within the Central African Republic, the hydrothermal and pegmatitic deposits on the Madagascar island, the hydrothermal davidite deposit within Mozambique, and others.
Ores of the ferrous metals. The reserves of the iron ores amount to 26.6 billion tonnes (start of the 1980), including 8623 million tonnes of the proven ones. The largest deposits are confined to the ferruginous quartzites of the early pre-Cambrian, namely, the Sayshen, Gamagara, Thabazimbi, and others (Republic of South Africa), Maevatanana (Madagascar), Chemutete, Matote, Badana-Mitcha (Angola), and others. There are also large the sedimentary deposits of the Devonian, namely, the Gara Djebilet, Meshery-Abdelaziz (Algeria), the Phanerozoic deposits of various ages, namely, the Bahariya (Egypt), Niamey (Niger), and others. Certain deposits of the iron ores are associated with the crusts of weathering (Calum within Guinea); there are quite numerous the magmatogenic deposits of iron together with titanium and vanadium, namely, the Magnet Hayes, Mapahs, Kennedy Vale, and others (Republic of South Africa). There are also significant the clusters of the ferruginous minerals within the coastal oceanic placer deposits.
The reserves of the manganese ores within Africa amount to 3.3 billion tonnes, the veracious ones amount to 1.7 billion tonnes (start of the 1980). More than 90% of the reserves (approximately 75% of the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries) are accounted for the Republic of South Africa, and the remaining reserves are accounted for the deposits of the Gabon, Morocco, Ghana, and Zaire. The largest deposits are associated with the metamorphic strata of the pre-Cambrian, namely, the Middelplats, Wessels, Hotazel and others (Republic of South Africa), Nsuta (Ghana). There are known the stratiform deposits, namely, Mvanda (Gabon) and other hydrothermal ones, the deposits of the crusts of weathering, namely, Kizenga (Zaire).
Within the deposits of Africa, there are enclosed the 3306 million tonnes of the chromium ores (start of the 1980); of which almost 78% of the reserves are accounted for the Republic of South Africa, 21% are accounted for Zimbabwe. The main deposits are confined to the Bushveld complex within the Republic of South Africa, and to the Great Dike within Zimbabwe. There exist the deposits of the chromium ores within the Madagascar, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, and Senegal.
Of the deposits of the titanium ores, there are the most significant according to the reserves the placer deposits of the ilmenite, titanium-magnetite, rutile, sometimes with the zircon or monazite, which belong to the Bradford-Rotifunk, Moyamba, Sherbro, Gbangbama deposits within Sierra Leone, which are giving 1.7% of the worldwide reserves; there are known the deposits within Egypt (Rashid), Senegal (Kayar-Lonpul), Somalia (Kisimayo), Republic of South Africa (Richards Bay, Umgababa), Mozambique. The numerous small placer deposits are situated along the eastern and western coasts of Africa, and along the eastern coast of the Madagascar island. The large deposits of the iron-titanium-vanadium ores exist within the Egypt and Republic of South Africa. The reserves of the TiO2 compound within rutile and ilmenite amount to 25 million tonnes (1982).
Ores of the nonferrous metals. The aluminium ores within Africa are represented mainly by the bauxites (the explored reserves at the start of the 1982 have amounted to 4620 million tonnes). There are great, but not taken into account the reserves of aluminium within the nepheline syenites. The deposits of bauxites are confined to the Mesozoic crusts of weathering, and are placed mainly within Guinea (Dyubula-Tagyurata, Dongel-Sihon, Race, and others), where are concentrated 38% of the worldwide reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries, and within Ghana (approximately 2%).
The reserves of copper within Africa amount to 100.1 million tonnes of metal, including the 64.3 million tonnes of the proven ones (start of the 1982). The most important deposits of the copper ores are situated within the copper-bearing belt of the Central Africa, which is passing through Zaire (Kolwezi, Tenke-Fungurume, Kipushi, Musori, and others), and Zambia (Nkana, Konkola, Nchanga, Chingola, and others). The share of Zaire accounts for 36% of the reserves of copper within Africa, the share of Zambia accounts for 54% of the reserves. The less significant pre-Cambrian stratiform deposits are known within Botswana, Namibia, and Uganda; the deposits of the ores of copper are also localized within the depositions of the Cretaceous time within Angola. There are characteristic the hydrothermal deposits within Morocco (Bu Azzer, El Graari), Zaire (Kipushi), Zambia (Kansanshi), Botswana (Matsitama), Republic of South Africa, and other countries. There is the unique in the genesis Phalaborwa carbonatitic deposit (Republic of South Africa).
With the abundance of the ore manifestations as a whole, Africa is poor with the deposits of the ores of lead (the reserves are more than 10.1 million tonnes in terms of the extractable metal, including the proven ones of 6.6 million tonnes, 1982) and zinc (the reserves are more than 19 million tonnes as of the 1982, in terms of the extractable metal, including the proven ones of 10.8 million tonnes). There are distinguished only three most important provinces of distribution, namely, the North African one (Morocco and Algeria), the Central African one (Zambia and Zaire), and the South African one (Namibia, Republic of South Africa). The major reserves of lead (60%) are accounted for the Republic of South Africa. The reserves of the ores of zinc are distributed among the countries more evenly: there are accounted 8.3% for Zaire, 7.3% for Algeria. There are known the deposits of the ores of zinc within Namibia, Morocco, Zambia, Tunisia. The largest pre-Cambrian hydrothermal deposit within Africa is the Kabwe (Broken Hill) within Zambia (lead, zinc, copper, vanadium). At the west of the Republic of South Africa, there exist the large complex deposits, namely, Aggeneys and Gamsberg (lead, zinc, copper, silver), Prisca and Kopperton (copper, lead, zinc, silver); there are known within Congo the medium and small deposits of the ores of copper, lead, and zinc. There are characteristic for the North Africa the Mesozoic-Cenozoic stratiform deposits of the ores of lead and zinc: Al Abed and others (Algeria), Oued Mekta, Bou Beker, Beddiane-Touissit (Morocco); there also exist the hydrothermal deposits.
The reserves of tin within Africa amount to 719 thousand tonnes, including the proven ones of 339 thousand tonnes (in terms of the extractable metal, at the start of the 1982). The most ancient deposits are associated with the pre-Cambrian pegmatites of the rare-metallic type, but the majority of the deposits of the tin ores is caused by the Phanerozoic epochs of activation. Such are the granitic pegmatites and greisens of Namibia (Karibib and others), Republic of South Africa (Grundurn and others), of the tin belt of Zambia, Mozambique, Zaire, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt (Umm Naggat and others). The small greisen deposits are known within the Ahaggar (Algeria). The endogenous deposits are accompanied by the industrial placer deposits, especially on the Jos plateau within Nigeria, within Zaire, and on the Madagascar. The most significant reserves of tin are concentrated within Nigeria and Zaire.
The reserves of nickel within Africa amount to 6.73 million tonnes (in terms of the extractable metal, at the start of the 1980), including the proven ones of 2.7 million tonnes. Approximately 80% of the reserves are concentrated within the magmatogenic deposits of the Bushveld complex within the Republic of South Africa; the remaining reserves are distributed relatively equally within Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Madagascar.
The reserves of cobalt within Africa are 1.255 million tonnes (in terms of the extractable metal, at the start of the 1980), including the proven ones of 0.9 million tonnes. Almost all reserves are concentrated within the deposits of the copper-bearing belt of the Central Africa. Cobalt is contained within the copper-nickel ores of the Okip, Insizva (Republic of South Africa), Matsitama (Botswana), Shangani (Zimbabwe) magmatogenic deposits; the certain quantity of cobalt is being extracted during the processing of the ores of the Bushveld complex (Republic of South Africa). Of the hydrothermal deposits, there is significant the Bu Azzer one (Morocco).
The deposits of the ores of tungsten within Africa are numerous, but small in reserves, namely, 44 thousand tonnes, including 28 thousand tonnes of the proven ones (1982). There are independent the hydrothermal and greisen deposits (Bashir within Algeria). Of the tin-tungsten ones, the largest deposits are the Punia and Kalima within Zaire. The medium and small greisen and pegmatitic tin-tungsten and beryllium-tungsten deposits are typical for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria, Zimbabwe.
The estimate of the reserves of beryllium on the continent is difficult. The main type of the deposits is the granitic pegmatites, which are developed within Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zaire, Burundi, Uganda, Madagascar, Nigeria, and other countries.
Africa is also known for its largest deposits of the complex ores of the lithium, tantalum, cesium, niobium, which are associated with the rare-metallic granitic pegmatites (the deposits of the Karibib group within Namibia, of the Grundurn group within the Republic of South Africa, of the Bikita and Kamativi-Det within Zimbabwe, of the Alto Ligon region within Mozambique). There are less significant the deposits of Madagascar, Zaire, and Uganda. Besides this, there are located within the pegmatitic bodies the significant quantities of tantalum, niobium, rubidium, beryllium, tin, bismuth, precious and ornamental stones (emerald, aquamarine, topaz, coloured tourmaline, amazonite, and others). Within Zaire and Nigeria, the most important sources of tantalum and niobium are the placer deposits, which have been formed on the account of the apogranites of the Jos plateau. There are also the largest in the reserves of niobium the Luesh (Zaire), Bukusu and Sukulu (Uganda), Mbeya (Tanzania), Mrima (Kenya), Bonga and Chivira (Angola), Chilwa (Malawi) carbonatitic deposits, which are containing tantalum, rare earth elements, fluorite, sometimes iron, apatite, phlogopite, vermiculite, copper, uranium (Phalaborwa, within the Republic of South Africa).
The strontium ores within Africa are associated with the large hydrothermal Mesozoic deposits of Essel and Abu Gorbon within Egypt, and of Beni Mansour within Algeria, and also with the carbonatitic deposit of Kangankunde (Malawi).
The ores of the rare earth elements associate with the granitic pegmatites (the Republic of South Africa, Mozambique, and Madagascar), and with the hydrothermal deposits (Stinkampskral within the Republic of South Africa); there belong to the early Phanerozoic ones the rare earth pegmatites (the deposits of Alto Ligon, Mozambique). The large reserves of the rare earth elements are enclosed within the carbonatitic massifs, and also within the placer deposits of the Atlantic and Indian coasts of Africa, and of the eastern coast of Madagascar.
The reserves of mercury within Africa are 12.0 thousand tonnes (in terms of the extractable metal, at the start of the 1982). The mercury ores are represented by the hydrothermal deposits, which are situated prevalently on the territory of Algeria (the Mra-Sma, Genisha, Ismail deposits); there are less significant the deposits of the Tunisia and Republic of South Africa (the Murchison ridge).
The reserves of antimony are 485 thousand tonnes (in terms of the extractable metal, at the start of the 1982); they are associated with the hydrothermal deposits within the pre-Cambrian carbonatic rocks of the Republic of South Africa and Morocco, and within the Miocene carbonatic-clayish strata of the Algeria and Tunisia. The major reserves of antimony are concentrated within the Gravelotte deposit (Republic of South Africa), the antimony ores exist within the Algeria and Morocco, and are also extracted from the gold ore deposits within Zimbabwe.
The most important on the worldwide scale deposits of the ores of gold are the metamorphogenic pre-Cambrian quartzitic conglomerates of the Witwatersrand within the Transvaal and Orange provinces (Republic of South Africa). There belongs to the same type the large Tarkwa deposit within Ghana. There possess the significant reserves the hydrothermal deposits of Barberton, Gravelotte, Pilgrims Rest (Republic of South Africa), Eldorado, Penhalonga, Muriel, and others (Zimbabwe), Kilo and Moto (Zaire), Bibiani, Ashanti, Konongo, Prestea (Ghana), Tiririn and others (Algeria), Sukari and Barramiya (Egypt), and also the most significant placer deposits within Africa: Eteki, Mimongo-Punga (Gabon), Auata, Mormora, Bore, and others (Ethiopia); Kintinian, Tuga, Banora (Dingirae) within Guinea.
There are no large independent deposits of the ores of silver within Africa. They obtain the major quantity of silver during the development of the deposits of the complex hydrothermal polymetallic ores (Republic of South Africa, Zaire, Namibia, Zambia, Morocco, Algeria, Zimbabwe).
The major reserves of the platinum ores (30.2 thousand tonnes, 1976, or 89% of the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries) are enclosed within the bowels of the Republic of South Africa, within the deposits of the Bushveld complex (Atok, Middelvit, Svartklip, Bafokeng, and others); the non-significant part of the reserves belongs to the Yubdo deposit within Ethiopia (the crust of weathering of the ultrabasic rocks); the certain quantity of platinum is contained within the metamorphogenic deposits of gold (Evander within the Republic of South Africa).
Mined chemical raw materials are represented mainly by the phosphorites and apatites. The reserves of the high-quality phosphorites within Africa, as of the 1982, have amounted to 46.355 billion tonnes, including the 18.5 billion tonnes of the veracious ones (approximately 70% of all the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries). The major reserves are concentrated within the 20 unique sedimentary deposits within the Morocco (90%), Algeria, Western Sahara, Syria, Egypt (see the "Arabian-African phosphorite-bearing province" article), Niger, Upper Volta.
The significant reserves of apatite (930 million tonnes, including 400 million tonnes of the veracious ones, as of the 1982) are associated with the deposits of Phalaborwa (Republic of South Africa), Sukulu (Uganda), Dorova (Zimbabwe), and others (approximately 40% of the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries). The deposits of the potassium salts within Africa are concentrated within the Morocco (Khemisset and others), Tunisia, Gabon, Congo, Ethiopia, the depositions of the mineral salt are within Botswana (Sua-Pen), the deposits of sulfur and fluorite are within the Republic of South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Namibia, the deposits of barite are within the Liberia, Republic of South Africa, the deposits of soda are within Kenya. The reserves of fluorite (100 million tonnes, including 33 million tonnes of the veracious ones, at the start of the 1980) amount to approximately 40% of the reserves of this mineral within the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries.
Nonmetallic industrial raw materials. The bowels of Africa have the rich reserves of asbestos (Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Botswana, Kenya), which amount to the 20% of the reserves of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries, of graphite (Madagascar, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania), of corundum (Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia). There are significant the deposits of muscovite (Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and others), phlogopite (Madagascar), vermiculite (Republic of South Africa), piezoquartz (Somalia, Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique), Iceland spar (Republic of South Africa), and other non-metallic useful minerals.
There is concentrated within Africa the major part of the resources of the diamonds within the world. The total reserves of the diamonds within Africa, according to the rough estimate, are more than 700 million carats. The bedrock deposits of the diamonds are associated with the pipes and dikes of kimberlites with mainly Proterozoic and Cretaceous ages. Among the bedrock deposits of Africa, the largest ones are: the Premier, Postmasburg, Kimberly pipes; the Jagersfontein, Fosburg, Koffiefontein, Finch, Vrimer, and other pipes (Republic of South Africa), Orapa, Jwaneng, Letlhakana (Botswana), Camafuca, Kamazambo, Katoka, and others (Angola), Dizile (Zaire), Mwadui (Tanzania), dikes of the Republic of South Africa (Svartryuhhens), Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast. The placer deposits of diamonds may be found both on the continent [Birim within Ghana, Mbuji-Mayi (Bakwanga), and within the Kasai basin within the Zaire, the Malouda, Kalonda, Kwango group within Angola, the Lichtenburg and Ventersdorp within the Republic of South Africa], and also on the coastal shelf of the Atlantic ocean (Orange Mouth within Namibia, and Alexander Bay within the Republic of South Africa).
History of the mastering of the mineral resources. Within Africa, there have been uncovered the traces of the most ancient workings of the stone for the crafting of implements. During the epoch of the Lower Paleolithic (approximately 2 million - 100 thousand years ago), they gathered the stone material on the surface; during the Neolithic, there were used more widely various minerals and rocks, but the technique for their processing has remained unstudied (excluding the individual developments on the territory of Egypt, according to the certain data, the flintstone was extracted there within the mines). Almost everywhere within Africa, the Stone Age has been replaced by the Iron Age; the cultures of the Copper and Bronze Ages are known only within Egypt, and on the Mediterranean coast. The richest depositions of the bog (turf) ores allowed to gather them on the surface, or to dig the hematitic concretions by the sharpened digging sticks, and primitive pickaxes; the large pieces were shattered by the stone hammers. The traces of the extraction of iron during the middle of the 1st millennium BC are known within the Northern Nigeria and Sudan; on the territory of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, iron was extracted within the mines, apparently, during the 1st - start of the 2nd millennium BC; approximately 70 thousand abandoned ancient workings have been uncovered between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. Besides iron, they extracted gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, and mercury. Presumably, during the 1st millennium BC, with the help of the iron implements, there has developed itself the extraction of copper and tin. The copper mines on the territory of Zaire (Katanga) and Zambia have been mentioned during the 12th century within the works of al-Biruni. The largest centres of the bronze metallurgy during the 2nd millennium BC were on the territory of the modern Nigeria, and of the Chad and Cameroon republics. With the help of the iron implements, the medieval builders extracted the stone plates on the territory of Zimbabwe.
Africa was famous as the major supplier of gold into the international market till the discovery of the New World (15th century). The traces of the most ancient extraction of gold belong to the 5th millennium BC (Badarian Neolithic culture of Egypt): gold was extracted, apparently, within the Nubian desert, where during the 2nd millennium BC existed the settlements of the Egyptian miners. Another most ancient centre of the extraction of gold is Punt (the Egyptian name for the country on the coast of Ethiopia and Somalia). The medieval travelers named Ghana as the "country of gold". On the territory of the Monomotapa medieval empire (since the most ancient times till the 17th century) between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers, there are known several thousands ancient developments. The European gold prospectors and colonizers have destroyed the major part of the ancient mines.
During the further history of the mastering of the mineral raw materials base of Africa, there are distinguished three stages. The 1st stage (the 2nd half of the 19th - start of the 20th centuries) is associated with the colonial partition of Africa, and with the territorial changes during the course of the 1st World War, 1914-18. The development of the raw materials base during this time has been caused by the discovery and development by the metropolies (primarily by the Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Germany) of the petroleum (Egypt, Algeria) fields, of the iron ore, polymetallic, antimony, and phosphorite (Tunisia, Algeria) deposits at the north of the continent, of the deposits of the chromium ores (the territories of the modern Zimbabwe), of the mineral coal and diamonds (Republic of South Africa) within its southern part, of the copper ores (the territory of the modern Zaire, Zambia) within the central part, of the deposits of the ores of manganese (the territories of the modern Ghana), vanadium (Namibia), and tin (Nigeria) within the near-Atlantic regions, of asbestos within the southern Africa, of graphite on the Madagascar island. There were developing themselves more actively the mining industry within the coastal regions, and also the extraction of gold and diamonds on the continent.
The 2nd stage (1919-45) was characterized by the continuation of the development of the already known regions with the purposes of the providing the metropolies with the raw materials, and also of the satisfaction of the military needs; there belong during this time to the list of the new regions of extraction: Postmasburg (manganese) and Bushveld complex (Republic of South Africa) with platinum and chromites, Morocco with phosphorites, Belgian Congo (now Zaire) and Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) with copper and copper-cobalt deposits, Belgian Congo (Zaire) with diamonds. The Shinkolobwe deposit was during this period the major supplier of uranium within the capitalistic world. The 2nd World War of 1939-45 has caused the start of the extraction of the bauxites at the deposits of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), and also of antimony within the Murchison region (Republic of South Africa). At this stage, Africa becomes the major producer (from 48% to 97% of the worldwide extraction) of the manganese and chromium ores, vanadium, cobalt, gold, and diamonds, plays the substantial role within the worldwide extraction (from 16% to 40%) of the ores of copper, platinum, phosphorites, gives the significant quantity of the iron ore, tin, and antimony.
The 3rd stage, the the post-war one, which has actually started during the 50-ies, proceeds on the background of the collapse of the colonial system, and of the forming of the independent African states. This process is accompanied by the strengthening of the role of the young states within the mining industry, up to its complete nationalization within the individual countries. The states of Africa consider the usage of their natural resources as one of the major levers for the development of the economy. There proceeds on the continent the sharp increase of the volume of extraction for practically all types of the useful minerals. The level of the extraction during the 1975-80 for the majority of the types of the raw materials exceeds by several times, and sometimes by many times the level of the 1950 (see the table); there has increased the share of Africa within the extraction of the iron ore, vanadium, bauxites, gold, platinum, manganese ores, while its share (significant, sometimes major) within the extraction of the chromium ores, copper, cobalt and antimony, diamonds and phosphorites has not changed significantly; there has proceeded the improvement of the structure of production and export for the iron, manganese, and chromium ores, for copper and cobalt, the major part of which has started to be processed into the intermediate product or metal.
Besides this, there has proceeded the territorial expansion of the raw materials base; there have emerged the new regions for the extraction of the uranium (Niger, Gabon, Namibia), iron (Liberia, Mauritania, and Angola), manganese (Gabon), vanadium (Republic of South Africa) ores, bauxites (Guinea), phosphorites; and also there has proceeded the qualitative expansion of the raw materials base, which is associated with the development of the deposits of the new types of the raw materials, such as uranium, nickel (Republic of South Africa, Botswana), mercury (Algeria), certain rare metals (Namibia, Zimbabwe), titanium raw materials (Republic of South Africa, Sierra Leone). During the 60-ies, there have been mastered within Africa the major petroleum-and-gas-bearing basins within Algeria, Libya, and Nigeria; there has started later the extraction within the countries of the Atlantic coast (Gabon, Angola, and others).
Thus, the countries of Africa together have the extensive mineral resources, which are quite sufficient for the creation of the powerful mining-extracting industry. The crash of the colonial system of imperialism after the 2nd World War, and the achievement of the political independence by the overwhelming majority of the countries of Africa, provide the great opportunities for the utilization of the mineral riches.
Mining industry. The countries of Africa play the important role within the worldwide mining-extracting industry. There was accounted for the share of the countries of Africa (1978) the 13.8% of the value of the produce of this sector of the industry within the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries, or 11.4% without taking into account the value of the produce of the Republic of South Africa, but 5.4% during the 1950 (or 2.9% without the Republic of South Africa). During the period of the 1950-78, the value of the produce of the mining-extracting industry of the continent as a whole has grown by 15 times; the value of the produce of the mining industry within the capitalistic world has increased during the same period by 6 times only. This process is associated in significant degree with the rapid increase of the prices for the fuel and raw materials goods, primarily for petroleum, and after the 50-ies also with the start of the mass development of the petroleum and gas fields within the northern Africa. There are concentrated within Africa up to 20% (up to 11% without the Republic of South Africa) of the total quantity of the underground mines and open pit developments with productive capacity of more than 150 thousand tonnes of the ore per year, which are situated within the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries; they provide up to 90% of all the extraction of the useful minerals within these countries, excluding the petroleum, natural gas, and coal. The produce of the mining-extracting industry within the countries of Africa, which is estimated at 46 billion dollars (1978), consists for almost 3/4 of the fuel-energetical raw materials, and only for 1/4 of the metal ores, mined chemical raw materials, and other types of the mineral raw materials. According to the total value of the produce of the mining industry, there is accounted more than 80% for the share of the developing countries of Africa, the remaining part is accounted for the Republic of South Africa (the most developed state within Africa according to the economical consideration). The historically established export specialization of the African mining industry causes the high proportion of the countries of Africa within the worldwide export of the mineral raw materials and fuel. Thus, the combined share of the developing countries of the African continent within the capitalistic export of the natural fertilizers, metal ores, and non-metallic mineral raw materials amounts to 7.4% (without the Republic of South Africa), and within the export of the fuel-energetical goods amounts to more than 15% (1979). The share of the produce of the mining-extracting industry within the GDP of the countries of Africa amounts to approximately 20% (1979), and varies widely among the countries, depending on the degree of the development of the extraction of the useful minerals, and on the diversification of their economies.
The narrow export specialization of the separately developing countries within Africa finds its manifestation within the exceptional dependence of the export incomes from the export of one or two types of the mineral raw materials. Thus, there is accounted for the share of the export of bauxites more than 70% of the export of Guinea; the share of the revenue from the export of the iron ores amounts to 70% and approximately 90% of the export earnings, respectively, of Liberia and Mauritania; the export of copper provides up to 67% and 96% of the export earnings of Zaire and Zambia; there amounts to the 93% and 89% of the export earnings of the Libya and Algeria the revenue for the export of petroleum and natural gas, and so on. The mining-extracting industry of the continent is placed dispersively, and is concentrated in the significant degree within the certain regions, which are associated with the sea ports and convenient communications. As a rule, it is represented by the single enterprises, which are situated at the significant distance one from another. The coastal-peripheral concentration of the mining-extracting industry of the countries within Africa is the consequence of the colonial past of the African peoples, and the result of the implementation of the policy of the imperialistic powers and large monopolies, which is aimed at the development, primarily, of the most necessary for them types of the mineral raw materials, and at the mastering of the richest deposits. As the consequence of this policy, there is observed within the countries of Africa the lower, in comparison with the other regions, degree of the exploration and mastering of the deposits of the useful minerals. The infrastructure (energy, transport, communication), which is existing within Africa (besides the Republic of South Africa), is not developed sufficiently, which hinders the further expansion of the mining-extracting industry.
Within the mining industry of the countries within Africa, the foreign capital holds till these times the significant positions: there are directed right into this sector of the industry up to 2/3 of all the foreign investments from the industrially developed capitalistic countries into the economy of the African states (3/4 of these investments are from the USA). The foreign monopolies, which are performing the utilization of the natural resources of the countries within Africa, obtain huge profits, which are exported from the African continent. Just the American monopolies have extracted during the period of the 1950-78 from Africa (without the Republic of South Africa) the profits, which amount to the value of approximately 8 billion dollars, which is approximately by 7 times more, than the inflow of their new investments. During the 70-ies, the developing countries within Africa have started the active fight against the dominance of the foreign capital within the mining-extracting industry and other sectors of the economy. The share of the nationalized foreign capital within Africa has increased from 50% to 70%-80%, and within the individual countries, for example Algeria, the foreign enterprises have been transferred almost completely into the property of the state. For the structure of the mining industry of the countries within Africa, there is characteristic the greater proportion of the large mines and open pit developments, than within the other regions of the world. The share of the underground mines and open pit developments with the annual productive capacity of more than 1 million tonnes of ore within the countries of Africa accounts for 51% of the total quantity of the registered underground mines and developments with the annual productive capacity of 150 thousand tonnes and more, or 42% without taking into account the Republic of South Africa; the corresponding indicator within the developing countries of Asia is 34%, and within the countries of South America is 41%. The characteristic peculiarity of the development of the mining-extracting industry of the countries within Africa is the lesser proportion of the open pit developments. Thus, the share of the industrial enterprises, which are performing the extraction of the useful minerals (without the fuel-energy resources) with the open pit method, within the countries of Africa is 36% (44% without the Republic of South Africa), within the countries of South America is 55%, and within the developing countries of Asia is 59%. According to the quantity of the underground mines and open pit developments with the productive capacity of 150 thousand tonnes of ore per year and more, the Republic of South Africa holds the 1st place (92 of 210), Zimbabwe holds the 2nd place (19), Zaire holds the 3rd place (12), Zambia holds the 4th place (11), Morocco holds the 5th place (9), Namibia holds the 6th place (8).
There belong to the list of the largest underground mines and open pit developments (with the extraction of 1 million tonnes of ore per year or more) the enterprises for the extraction of the iron ores within Annaba (Algeria), Bahariya (Egypt), Bonga, Mano, Nimba (Liberia), Ruesse, Tazadit (Mauritania), Brousse, Lilyfield, Saishen, Thabazimbi, Mapahse (Republic of South Africa), phosphates within Hamrawein (Egypt), Khouribga and Yusuf (Morocco), Taib (Senegal), Foskor (Republic of South Africa), Tunisia, copper-nickel ores within Piqua-Selebi (Botswana), diamonds within Orapa and Letlhakane (Botswana), Letseng la Terai (Lesotho), within the Republic of South Africa, asbestos within Msauli and Havelock (Swaziland), Mashav and Zvishavane (Zimbabwe), manganese ore within Mvande (Gabon), Mamatwan, Mancorp, Middelplaats (Republic of South Africa), uranium within Arly (Niger), within the Republic of South Africa, copper-cobalt ores within Zaire and Zambia, the series of the underground mines for the extraction of gold within the Republic of South Africa, and so on.
The proportion of the countries of Africa within the worldwide capitalistic extraction of the fuel-energy resources amounts to 12%, of the other types of the mineral raw materials amounts to 27% (11.6% without the Republic of South Africa) (1977). Africa holds the 1st place in the extraction of diamonds, ores of the platinum group, gold, cobalt, manganese, chromium and vanadium, the 2nd place in the extraction of uranium, antimony, mercury, phosphates and asbestos, the 3rd place in the extraction of petroleum, copper, bauxites, tin, the 4th place in the extraction of the natural gas, the 5th place in the extraction of the iron ore and mineral coal. The total value of the produce of the mining industry within Africa (including the products of the processing of the raw materials, namely, metals, and others) was determined as 50 billion dollars (1977), of which approximately 30 billion dollars were accounted for petroleum, approximately 15 billion dollars were accounted for the incombustible useful minerals (excluding the building materials). These proportions can change mainly on the account of the changes of the prices for the raw materials, because the changes of the level of extraction and processing of the raw materials are less susceptible to the sharp fluctuations. (The dynamics of the extraction of the main types of the raw materials, which are playing the important role within the worldwide economy, or within the economy of the continent, is listed within the Table).
The extraction of petroleum within Africa during the 1980 has exceeded 300 million tonnes per year, which amounted to approximately 13% of the extraction within the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries. The major regions of extraction are the north-eastern part of Libya (Sahara-Mediterranean basin), and the central-eastern part of Algeria, which are belonging to the Algerian-Libyan petroleum-and-gas-bearing basin, and also the coastal part of Nigeria (the basin of the gulf of Guinea). There belong to the list of the largest fields with significant level of extraction the Serir and Selten within Libya, Hassi Messaoud within Algeria, Okan within Nigeria. The significant quantity of petroleum is extracted within Egypt, Gabon, Angola, Tunisia, and Congo. The total quantity of the active petroleum wells within Africa during the end of the 1980 amounted to 4522. There belong to the list of the largest petroleum companies the "Shell" (60 million tonnes per year, Nigeria), the "Oasis Oil Corp." (2/3 of the extraction within Libya), and the "SONATRACH" governmental company (4/5 of the extraction within Algeria). The total productive capacity of the petroleum processing enterprises within Africa is approximately 85 million tonnes. The total quantity of the petroleum processing plants on the continent (at the end of the 1980) is 41. The length of the pipelines exceeds 4000 kilometres; the largest part of them connects the fields within Libya and Algeria to the ports on the coast of the Mediterranean sea. There belong to the list of the largest petroleum ports the Es Sider, Marsa-el-Bureika, Marsa-el-Hariga, Rasel-Anuf, Eze Zuvaytina within Libya, Bejaia, Arzew, and Skikda within Algeria, Bonnie and Lagos within Nigeria. Through these and other ports, there are exported annually 250-275 million tonnes of petroleum, which amounts to 17%-18% of the worldwide export of petroleum. The plans for the economic development of the major petroleum-extracting countries, especially of Libya and Algeria, do not prescribe the high tempos for the growth of extraction, there is provided more attention to the processing of the petroleum on the spot.
The share of the countries of Africa in the extraction of natural gas and mineral coal is relatively small, accounting for respectively approximately 2.7% and 5.5% of the extraction of the industrially developed capitalistic and developing countries. During the 1980, there have been extracted within the countries of Africa 21 billion cubic metres of natural gas, and more than 128 million tonnes of mineral coal. The major extraction of gas is performed within Algeria and Libya, of mineral coal is performed within the Republic of South Africa. More than 50% of the extracted gas is exported (approximately 7% of the worldwide export). The largest part of mineral coal is consumed on the spot, there is exported only approximately 30%. Apparently, the extraction of natural gas and mineral coal will substantially increase.
The share of the countries of Africa in the extraction of the ores within the industrially developed and developing countries is (1980, %): uranium is 30-35 (including the 11%-12%, which are accounted for the Republic of South Africa, and 20%-25%, which are accounted for the developing countries of Africa), iron is 10-15, manganese is 50, chromium is 60-70, vanadium is more than 50, bauxites is 17-18, copper is 20, cobalt is 60-80, lead and zinc (within concentrate) is 6-7, tin is 4-3, antimony (within concentrate) is 30-35, mercury is more than 20, gold is more than 50, metals of the platinum group is 80.
There belong to the list of the most important regions of the extraction of uranium the Witwatersrand (Republic of South Africa), Rossing (Namibia), Arlit - Imouraren (Niger), and Munana - Oklo (Gabon). The enterprises within Niger and Gabon are controlled mainly by the French capital, within the Republic of South Africa and Namibia are controlled by the British-American companies, and by the companies of the Republic of South Africa. All extracted uranium in the form of concentrate is exported into the USA, and into the countries of the Western Europe. The possible growth of the extraction of uranium is expected on the account of the region, which is situated at the junction of Niger, Algeria, and Mali, on the account of the deposits of Namibia, and also on the account of the organization of the mining enterprises within the new regions, for example within the Central African Republic.
The proportion of Africa in the extraction and export of the iron ores is comparatively small, but this sector of the industry, along with its export role, has the great importance for the continent in association with the development of the ferrous metallurgy, which is planned within many countries. The iron ore is mainly extracted within the Republic of South Africa (Sayshen, Thabazimbi, and others), Liberia, and Mauritania; within the two latter countries, there is exported almost all produced marketable ore, which is delivered by the special ore-hauling railways into the Buchanan and Nouadhibou ports. Within the Republic of South Africa, the internal consumption and export of the ore are approximately equal, the main port for the export of the marketable iron and manganese ores is Saldanha. The enterprises of the ferrous metallurgy, besides the Republic of South Africa, exist within Egypt, Algeria, and other countries. The increase of the extraction of the iron ores within Africa in the future is associated with the improvement of the active mines, and with the mastering of the already known deposits within Algeria, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and other countries.
The extraction of manganese ores is performed within the two regions, namely, Postmasburg, or Kuruman (Republic of South Africa), and Mvanda (Gabon). The Republic of South Africa, along with the prevalent export of manganese ore, produces and exports the significant quantity of ferromanganese. The overwhelming majority of the ore, which is extracted within Gabon, is exported through the Pointe-Noir port (Congo). The growth of the extraction in the future will also proceed on the account of these regions, although the increase of the extraction is complicated within the Republic of South Africa by the decrease of the quality of the extracted ore, and by the significant increase of the depth of the mines. There is expected the involvement into operation of the new deposits, for example within the Upper Volta. The share of Africa in the export of the chromium ores amounts to approximately 50%. The main regions of the extraction are the Bushveld complex (Republic of South Africa), and the Great Dike-Shurugvi (Zimbabwe); the significant quantity of the chromium ores is also extracted on the Madagascar island. The prevalent part of the chromites, which are extracted within the Republic of South Africa, is consumed within the country for the production of ferrochrome.
In the production of the vanadium products, the overwhelming majority is accounted for the Bushveld complex (Republic of South Africa), and partly for the Berg Aukas deposit (Namibia). Taking into account the huge reserves of the vanadium-containing titanium-magnetitic ores within the Republic of South Africa, Tanzania, and other countries, it may be expected, that Africa would continue to play the role of the leading supplier of vanadium onto the worldwide market.
The extraction of bauxites is concentrated within Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ghana. The overwhelming majority of bauxites is exported; there is processed into alumina the non-significant part at the plant within Kimbo (Guinea). The plants for the production of the primary aluminium exist within Tome (Ghana; 200 thousand tonnes per year), Nag Hammadi (Egypt; approximately 100 thousand tonnes), Richards Bay (Republic of South Africa; approximately 90 thousand tonnes), and Edea (Cameroon; 55 thousand tonnes). All of them work using the delivered alumina; the large part of the produced metal is exported. The specialized port for the export of bauxites is Kamsar within Guinea (the cargo turnover is 9 million tonnes). There may seriously impact the tempos of the growth of the extraction of bauxites the level of the development of infrastructure; and there may impact the production of alumina and primary aluminum the status and development of the energetical base, because the degree of the provision with the raw materials is very significant.
The copper ores are the traditional product of the mining industry within Africa. The major centres of the extraction and processing of the copper ores are associated with the copper-bearing belt of the central Africa. The copper ores are also extracted within the Republic of South Africa. The refined and blister copper, which is obtained within these countries, and also the small quantity of the copper concentrate from Zaire, are almost completely exported through the ports within Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Republic of South Africa.
There is extracted within Africa the significant part of cobalt; approximately 90% of extraction are accounted for the deposits of the copper-bearing belt within Zaire and Zambia.
Africa does not play the large role in the production of lead and zinc. The major African extracting countries are Morocco, Algeria (El Abed), Zaire, Zambia, Namibia. The Republic of South Africa possesses the great prospects.
The extraction of the ores of tin gradually decreases as the result of the exhaustion of the placer deposits within Nigeria and Zaire. The increase of the extraction is possible only in the case of the development of the bedrock deposits within these same and other countries.
Africa plays the important role in the production of antimony (within concentrate). The overwhelming majority of antimony is extracted at the Gravelotte deposit within the Republic of South Africa.
As the result of the mastering of the mercury deposits within Algeria, Africa has started during the end of the 70-ies to extract the significant quantity of mercury.
There is also characteristic for the mining industry within Africa the small production (in the form of concentrate) of nickel, tungsten, and silver.
After the 2nd World War, Africa consistently holds the 1st place in the extraction of the ores of gold and platinum. The Republic of South Africa (Witwatersrand) is during many years the leading country for the extraction of gold not only within Africa, but also within the world. There hold the quite significant place in the extraction of gold the deposits within Ghana and Zimbabwe, and also within Zaire and Mauritania. The extraction of gold is aso conducted within other countries, but its level usually daes not exceed 1 tonne per year. The extraction of the platinum ores is mainly performed within the Bushveld complex within the Republic of South Africa. The further increase of the tempos for the extraction of the platinum ores within Africa is associated in certain degree with the development of the methods for the extraction of the platinum metals from the fine-grained ores of the Bushveld and Great Dike, and also with the mastering of the new deposits within other countries.
Africa plays the leading role in the extraction of diamonds (more than 95% of the extraction within the industrially developed and developing countries). The major regions of the extraction of diamonds are Zaire, Republic of South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Namibia, Sierra Leone, and also Tanzania, Angola, Central African Republic.
The share of Africa in the extraction of phosphorites consistently exceeds 30% of the extraction within the industrially developed and developing countries, while the main region is the Atlantic one, which is including Morocco and Western Sahara, then Tunisia, Republic of South Africa, Togo, Senegal.
There are extracted within Africa approximately 2.5 million tonnes of apatites. The overwhelming majority of the phosphate raw materials is exported. In the future, along with the growth of the extraction of the phosphate raw materials, would probably also proceed the absolute growth of its internal consumption.
Of the other types of the non-metallic mineral raw materials, Africa holds the significant place in the extraction of asbestos (570-640 thousand tonnes), vermiculite (200 thousand tonnes), fluorite (approximately 570 thousand tonnes), and graphite (18-20 thousand tonnes); there increases the extraction of phlogopite, barite, and celestite.
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