Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons signed its first mining contracts with three international companies on Monday for the exploration of mineral resources in the Rio Muni region.
The first contract, awarded to Manhattan Mining Investment Co., provides for gold exploration in Block (I). Three prospecting contracts were awarded to Blue Magnolia in Block (B) for the exploration of bauxite and precious metals; Block (K) for gold; and Block (H) for gold, uranium, iron, bauxite, basic metals and rare earth minerals. Lastly, one prospecting contract was awarded to Shefagold in Blocks (N) and (O) for platinum, palladium, silver, chrome, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, iron ore and related minerals.
“Mining is a key contributor to economic growth and jobs creation across West and Southern Africa, and we truly believe that it is time that Equatorial Guinea enters the race and starts developing its potential in minerals,” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The development of this industry is central to the government’s economic diversification agenda and is expected to create thousands of jobs in the future.”
The signing of the agreements follows the country’s first international mining tender, EG Ronda 2019. While artisanal mining is not new to Equatorial Guinea, the country opened its mining sector to private investment for the first time last year, aiming to attract a new wave of investment by opening up its highly prospective Rio Muni Basin to exploration from both national and international companies.
The signing of the agreements aligns with the country’s 2020 Year of Investment initiative, which seeks to attract investment and promote key projects in its mining and minerals industry, including an industrial mining area with a gold refinery, to diversify the national economy, spur job growth, boost government revenues and stimulate local communities.