Another sector that has huge potential for foreign investment and could transform the future economic prospects of the country and its small population is mining, including hydrocarbon deposits (oil and gas) as well as coal, which can be easily explored. Based on seismic surveys and geological data gathering carried out during the past few years, there are encouraging indications including onshore oil seeps showing favourable conditions for hydrocarbons to have accumulated in numerous large tilted fault blocks and sub-basins. Some of these discoveries go back to the 1950s and 1980s but there are also new data based on recent seismic surveys which indicate potential oil and gas deposits in the country. There is no doubt that the increasing global demand for oil fuelled by the expanding Asian economies will make Somaliland’s oil drilling prospects more demand driven and urgent than before and the government has been seeking to develop the right institutions to pave the way for oil drilling and the distribution of any wealth from that oil to be properly channelled towards economic and social development.
Somaliland has a number of known deposits of minerals such as large variety of gemstones, gold, iron ore, tin, lead as well as industrial minerals including gypsum, marble, mica, feldspar, quartz, cement materials, and a range of good quality decorative stones. There are also huge quantities of excellent glass-making sand. Additionally, there is high potential for the deposits of manganese, platinum, copper, zinc, tantalite-columbite, nickel and chromium. Somaliland is therefore highly prospective yet very under explored.
For the last three years there has been increased interest in the mineral sector. The licenses issued by the Ministry include
- Prospecting License
- Small Scale Mining
- Large Scale Mining
- Dealers License
Gem-quality minerals of Somaliland include: emerald, ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, topaz, tourmaline, zircon, garnet, amethyst, spinel, opal and many less valuable minerals such as dioside, Citrine, epidote and jadite.
Types of Somaliland Mineral Resources
The source of Somaliland gemstones is the crystalline basement which runs along the Gulf of Aden and outcrops 600km in length & 60km wide. The Somaliland basement is part of the highly productive Mozambique orogenic belt which is the source of the gemstones in Kenya, Tanzania, Sri-Lanka, India and Madagascar
The geological Setting and type of mineralization of the Somaliland gemstones can be noticed by examining:
- The basement consists of older metamorphic rocks intruded by acidic intrusive rocks in number of phases.
- Latest stage of plutonic activities included acidic pegmatite’s, which are the main source-rocks of gemstones of Somaliland.
- Pegmatite's are scattered along the basement but most of the pegmatite's occur between Berbera and Bawn & could be split into two areas, east area (1,500km2) and west area (3,000km2).
Currently, there are widespread artisanal mining using primitive tools, but as of late there has been great deal of foreign investment interest triggered by the successful implementation of the recent large scale investment projects such as: Oil exploration projects and DP World project.
Precious metals are found in numerous localities in Somaliland including: Cirshida, Arabsiyo, NW Hargeisa, Abdulkadir, Shiekh & Mait, and reveal wide range of gold, silver and platinum metals. Geology of gold mineralization includes: Mineralized veins, Mineralization associates with porphyritic granite and placer deposits in alluvial sediments on the foothills.
There has been known occurrence at Cirshida area since British time but recently there has been major discovery of gold deposit in the form of nuggets in alluvial sediment. The locals exploited some of it, using primitive tools but the activity is now on hold.
The bedrock geology of Somaliland emphasizes units important for metallic mineral deposits as the sedimentary cover reveals units vital for industrial and non-metallic deposits.
Geochemical survey conducted by UNDP where samples were analysed by atomic absorption methods for Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, Mn & Li. Anomalies amount of Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni and Cr were found in Precambrian metamorphic mafic and ultramafic rocks, Jurassic limestones and cretaceous Jasomma sandstone.
Large tin deposit is known at Assilih-Dalan-Dagah Kul area eastern Sanaag region. The Main ore bodies are numerous quartz & pegmatite veins grouped in strips. There are also placer deposits with grains size of Cassiterite fragments of 1 to 3mm.
The heavy metals are found in different localities in the country from Qolujeit area in the west to the cassiterite at Dalan in the east. The localities include: Qolujeit, Udan, Bawn, Arabsiyo, Wai-Wai, Satawa Hog, Berbera, Shiekh, Seinat, Mait and Dalan Areas. The famous costal black sand which is eroded basement is over 70% iron and titanium ore.
Somaliland has very large resources of industrial minerals including: gypsum, cement materials, mica, marble, feldspar, quartz and a range of decorative stones and good quality glass-making sand.
The preliminary estimation of the gypsum and anhydrite resource available in the surface alone in the eastern part of Daban Basin, near Berbera is in access of 180 million tons, with purity of over 95%. This is in very close proximity to the cost and the main road.
There are large quantities of potassium feldspar and quartz deposits along the basement belt, mainly in the form of large pegmatite crystals. Excavating and qualitative chemical analysis of feldspar by Namik Kemal Turmen; Turkish company, near Hamas, estimate of 50,000 – 100,000 tons at one location and already shipped 42 tons for technical analysis and trial production.
Current Mineral Sector Activities
Contracts for gemstones mining
- Green Gemstone Company (India + locals)
Contracts for metallic minerals
- Rooble Mining Company/MMR – Copper, Columbite, Cobalt (India)
- Himilo Minerals -heavy metals (Local)
Contracts for Jade mining
- Big rock mining (China)
- African minerals company (China)
- Khayraat minerals (China + locals)
- Well logging (China)