Middle East, North Africa on mining periphery despite hosting 30% of the world’s minerals – by Ilan Solomons (MiningWeekly.com – April 15, 2016)


JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Despite hosting more than 30% of global mineral reserves, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region severely lacks exploration and resource development investment.

The region’s mining industry is facing several challenges, such as social and environmental pressure from communities living near mines, the depletion of shallow mineral reserves, water scarcity and market volatility.

These are some of the main factors deterring development in the region, says nonmetallic minerals intelligence research company Industrial Minerals market analyst Shruti Salwan.

She adds that slumping commodity prices have made the MENA’s mineral-rich resources unviable for future growth.

“The underdeveloped mineral resources of the MENA have also been bearing the brunt of political unrest, lack of proper governance, limited infrastructure and technological advancements and, above all, fading investor interest, particularly in the nonmetallic minerals market,” Salwan states.

According to a report on the industrial minerals market published by Industrial Minerals in May 2015, the Khunayfis and Al-Sharqiya phosphate mines, in Syria, operated by Syrian mining company Compagnie Generale des Phosphates et des Mines, were likely to have had their production affected by the extremist militant group Islamic State (IS) conflict and the preceding Syrian civil war, which began before the IS insurgence in 2011.

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