The mining sector of Somalia is still in its infancy stage with activity being predominantly artisanal in nature. However, Somalia has significant potential, and large proportions of its landmass have yet to be explored. Although mining activities in Somalia are minimal, the known mineral targets constitute less than 20%. The country has never had an overall geological and mineralogical survey. Past reconnaissance and exploration efforts were erratic; something here and something there and unfortunately that meagre data (though old) generated was lost during the civil war. The known mineral targets can be classified in these five main categories:
- Mining for precious and semi-precious minerals: Only artisanal miners are involved in this activity in their search for gold, diamond, platinum and gemstones such as emerald, ruby, sapphire, tourmaline and meteorites.
- Industrial mineral targets include phosphates, kaolin, bentonite, potash, lithium brines, sepiolite, talc, iguana, pegmatites and quartz.
- Target ores: Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), rutile for Titanium, tin (Sb), gold (Au) and silver (Ag)
- Target energy minerals: These include uranium, lignite, coal, and hydrocarbons – oil and gas
- Mining for building materials and ornamental stones: Granite, limestone, marble, kaolin and lime production
Mineral potential of Somalia:
|Federal Member State||Mineral potential|
1. Majiyahan deposit of tantalum (tin), Nb, gold (Au) and silver (Ag).
2. Dhurbo coal deposits (Two sites).
3. Qandala lead and silver deposit with zinc, iron and copper.
4. The salts of Hafun and gemstones
|Galmudug||1. The sepiolite, bentonite, kaolinite and potash of El Bur|
2. The salts, including potash and lithium brines of Hinlabi, Seego, Warshuba and Ba’ad Weyn. There are other potential sites near Af Barwaaqo.
3. Calcrete uranium deposits of Mirig, Wabo, Adado and Galinsor
4. Brown coal (Lignite) and black coal deposit are reported at NW Hobyo
5. Pt, Cu and Au are reported by the Russian researchers
|1. The gypsum of Jiqley|
2. The cement-making material (limestone, clay and gypsum) of Jiqley
3. Pt, Cu and Au is reported by Russians on East Bula Burte
4. Silica sands, kaolinite and REE in the coastal sand dunes
|1. Primary uranium at Alio Ghelle|
2. The apatites (phosphorites) of Modu Mode
3. The iron ore of Bur Qalin and Daimir, near Dinsor; in addition to Mn deposit associated with the Fe ore.
4. Granite, marble at Lego near Balli Dogle and gem-stones in the Dooy
5. Rare Earth Elements (REE) and silica sand in the coastal sand dunes near Marka and between Marka and Mogadishu, along the coast.
6. Coal (black coal) resource at Hawaay, west of Barawe
7. Ag and Au east of Bardhere; and Cu and Phosphorites SW of Dinsor.
8. Kaolinite and silica sand deposits is found in the red/white sands, near Marka
9. Limestone, clay and gypsum for cement at Markabley and Bur Anole, south of Bardhere
10. The bauxites of Goof Gaduud, Manaas and Moode Moode
11. Pegmatites for quartz and lithium production
|1. Fe ore near El Wak (The Russian report)|
2. The black sand deposits of Kismayo: magnetite, ilmenite, rutile, zircon and monazite
3. Placer gold traces in sand/pebbles on river Juba banks between Bardhere and Luuq
4. Limestone, clay and gypsum for cement at Markabley and Bur Anole, south of Bardhere
Somaliland has unilaterally declared its independence from Somalia. However, the Federal Government of Somalia wants Somaliland to reunite with the rest of Somalia as a Federal Member State.
|1. Piezo-quartz and feldspar pegmatite’s and Muscovites in Lafarug and Da’ar Buruk. There is potential for Lithium mining.|
2. Gold and Pt in Arabsiya, Gabiley, Baki and Borame.
3. Base metal : Cu and Zn; auriferous (gold) or molybdenum hydrothermal occurrences (Borislav K Kamenov)
4. Cassiterite (tin)-bearing quartz veins in the Inda Ad Series of Sanag in Dalan
5. Molybdenum, Columbite and beryllium –bearing quartz veins and pegmatites (quartz and lithium) in the western part of the Golis Range.
6. Coal and lignite: Coal deposits with ages from Jurassic to Oligocene –Mionce occur in Hed-Hed , north of Las Dureh, Southeast of Berbera
7. Gypsum-anhydrite deposit near Berbara
8. Beryl group gemstones, opal, tourmaline, amethyst, quartz, ruby and sapphires.
9. Iguana as fertilisers at the islands of Hiis and Maydh.
The Status of Benadir (the Capital city region) within the Federal System is not yet finalised.
|1. Aggregate production for construction (buildings and infrastructure)|
2. Lime production for construction purposes
3. Seafront salt mining
4. Coastal sand dunes: REE, silica sands and kaolinite
The status of the legal and the regulatory regime of Somalia:
|1||Mining Policy||The Mining Policy is drafted but has to be shared with relevant authorities for feedback and approval. The mining policy covers broad principals for mineral sector development.|
|2||Ownership, management and revenue sharing||The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and the Federal Member States (FMS) has agreed on ownership and the management of the mineral resources and on how to share the revenues generated from the mineral resources in Baydhaba in 2018.|
|3||A new Mining Code 2018/19|| The Mining Code will be modern and specifically tailored to the Somalia ‘s needs. Work on the Mining Code is at the beginning stage.|
|4||Mining Regulations 2018||The mining regulations are inclusive into this Mining Code project. The Regulation is the very specific details on key aspects of mineral sector operation|
|5||Model mining exploration and development Agreement (MEDA) in the form of production sharing||The model agreement that will be presented to every mining company interested to mine in Somalia and the model will be the basis of negotiations during the process of agreements.|
|6||Mining Strategy||What the Federal Government of Somalia seeks to achieve by developing the minerals sector and how. The strategy is not yet written.|
FGS/FMS Institutional framework
In describing the institutional framework that will facilitate mineral activities, it is useful to break down the levels of government/state institutions. While not essential, it is also useful to include some legislative confirmation of these formal government institutions in minerals-specific legislation.
Examples are included in this table.
|Level of Formal Government Institutions||Illustrative roles and responsibilities |
|Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)|
1. Somali Mining Authority – the Regulator/Inspectorate
2. Somali Geological Survey
3. Somali Mining Corporation (Commercial wing of the State)
|Leadership on overall governance and policy, fiscal regime and broad legislative regime; in some jurisdictions, overall land, licensing, inspection; includes the “line ministry”|
Institutions: Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Somali Mining Authority, Ministry of Finance, Directorate of Environment (under the Prime Minister’s Office), Interior Ministry and Ministry of Labour.
1. Cadastre: Licensing, registration, maintenance of mineral rights; maintenance of cadastral maps, issue reporting requirements through which to monitor operations
2. Exploration and survey mapping of mineral resources, retrieval and maintenance of geoscience data
3. This is a state commercial company that carries the interest of the state, and enters into joint ventures with international mining companies.
|Federal Member State (FMS)|
1. Petroleum and Mining Agency
2. Ministry of Petroleum and Minerals (FMS Level Ministry)
|Licensing, inspections, technical requirements, facilitation of good investments, information, land acquisition|
|Region and district||Community and employment issues, environmental monitoring, land reconciliation, benefits sharing|
Other parallel activities with respect to mining – Geological and mineral surveys:
Acquisition of new data through remote sensing: Somalia will try to get funding for remote sensing, most specifically hyperspectral remote sensing and georesonance technology that identifies subsurface technology by their characteristic spectral signatures. Vast areas can be surveyed within weeks. As a consequence of that effort, the Ministry of Petroleum will be able to gather data on its vast mineral resources.
Abdulkadir Abiikar Hussein
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Federal Government of Somalia, and Dean, Faculty of Geoscience and Environment
Benadir University, Mogadishu, Somalia