At least 500 jobs are to be created as the country aims to become a global player.
Gabon's economy is expected to receive fillip in the coming months when the country begins industrial exports of locally-processed manganese after more than 50 years of artisan mining. In a bid to diversify its economy, take greater advantage of its natural resources and create jobs, the government on June 15, 2015 inaugurated its pioneer manganese processing plant at Moanda, Haut-Ogooué Province in the country's southeast.
Installed on 50 hectares, the complex has an initial annual production capacity of 3.8 million tonnes, according to official forecasts. After commissioning "Nouvelle Gabon Mining" plant on May 8, 2017 at Biniomi, Haut-Ogooué, President Ali Bongo spoke of his dream to make Gabon the world's largest manganese exporter. "We are speeding up the diversification of the economy.
Projects launched a few years ago are beginning to yield fruit. Thanks to public-private partnerships, we have been able to make much progress. In order to be more competitive, we process our minerals locally, thereby giving them added value and creating jobs. With three manganese mining sites in Haut-Ogooué, we can create a mining cluster in the province," President Bongo noted.
In a recent interview with "L'Union" daily newspaper, Gabon's Minister of Mines, Christian Magnagna, spoke of the country's determination to become the world's largest manganese producer as from 2019. Gabon's manganese production stood at 2.2 million tonnes in June 2017, an increase of 4.5 per cent, according to statistics from the country's General Directorate of Economy.
The country looks forward to producing 6 million tonnes of manganese this year. According to a November 2017 report by Jeune Afrique weekly magazine, many investors have since 2010 shown interest in Gabon's manganese mines.
The country boasts huge manganese reserves and is currently Africa's second largest producer. In 2010, only "Compagnie minière de l'Ogooué" Comilog, a subsidiary of France's Eramet, operated in the sector. It has since been joined by "Compagnie industrielle et commerciale des mines de Huazhou," CICMHZ, which manages Ndjolé Mine, whose reserves are estimated at 30 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, "Nouvelle Gabon Mining," NGM, a subsidiary of India's Coalsale, runs Biniomi Mine.