Mining is the activity that involves the extraction of minerals from the ground.

Major categories (classification) of minerals: Minerals can be classified into metal and non – metal

Non – metallic minerals include: Salt phosphate potash nitrates mineral oil and natural gas

Metallic mineral include: Gold zinc, copper iron tin silver lead chromium, nickel, cobalt, manages, aluminum, tin etc


1.Coal is found: USA in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, interior states like Illinois, Indian Kansas, Oklahoma and the Gulf province in states like Texas, Alabama the former USSR in Moscow, Donetz Coal Basin, and Kuznetstk coal Basin, Other countries include China, United Kingdom, South Africa, Zimbabwe at wankie, Zambia, Nigeria, Botswana, The democratic republic of Cong, Mozambique, Morocco, Malawi sudan and Tanzania from the Ruhuhu basin, Ketewaka-Mchuchuma and Songwe Kiwira.


2.Gold is  found in south Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya.

3.   Salt minerals in Tanzania along the coast uvinza in Kigoma and china.

4.  Copper in Zambia, The democratic Republic  of Congo Uganda  (kilembe)  Mauritania,  Botswana, Chile,  Canada,  the former USSR and USA.

5.  Natural gas found in Tanzania at Songosongo island in Kilwa Nigeria and Middle East.

6.Diamond found in Tanzania (Mwadui), South Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

7.Phosphate in Tororo-Uganda and Morocco at Khourigba, Youssonfia and Ben Guerir within the Maseta.

8.Bauxite is the area of Aluminum. It is located in Guinea, Ghana and Cameroon.

9.  Iron ore in German, Sweden, USA, china, Brazil, Australia, France, UK, Liberia, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Gabon, Algeria, Angola, and South Africa.

10. Tanzanite in Tanzania only



Tanzanite in Tanzania only



Various methods are used in activity depending on the occurrence of the concerned mineral easiness of the method and how cheap it is. The common methods of mining include;

1. Open Cost Method (strip Method)

It is the method that involves the removal of the upper surface layer of soil where the mineral deposits the horizontally near the surface. The method is cheap.

2. Underground (Shaft) methods

It is the method which is used in extracting the minerals which are found deep in the group. It involved digging deep hole (shift) to lower in the ground.

3. Placer method mining

It is the simple method, which is used in extracting alluvial mineral by using the pans in the river valley. It is used in diamond mining in South Africa, it involves digging out the sand and gravel from the river basin swirling it round with water in shallow pan. Then the pan is tilted in such a way that the lighter and/or gravel is washed over the side, leaving the heavier mineral at the bottom of the pan.

Contribution of the mining industry to the economy (economic importance of mining industry) of any country;

a. The  mining  leads to the development  of industries in the country for  example steel cutting industry, coal has led to the development heavy industries in China, USA and chemical industries.

b. Mining contributes to the earning of foreign currency in the country for example copper in Zambia Gold in South Africa, oil in Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Middle east and Kuwait.

c. Mining industry provides employment opportunities to the people e.g. In Zambia copper mining employs a lot of people in South Africa  in the  Rand mining area).

d. Mining stimulates the development of transport and communication systems in any country. For example in  South Africa mining has  led to the development of a dense network of Roads and railways lines in the Eastern part.
e. It encourages the development of other economic sectors since it generates capital for the country. For example mining in China has led  to heavy investment in Agricultural machinery.

f. Mining also leads to the improvement in the international relations through forming the international organization for the countries mining and exporting certain type of mineral. For example Nigeria is the member of OPEC to the oil mining industry

g. Mining leads to the development of towns and large cities like the industrial conurbation of Rand in South Africa conurbation is the large zone formed as a result of the combination of many towns into one zone. Also in Tanzania Mwadui has grown because of Diamond mining, Mpanda in Rukwa and Chunya in Mbeya because of gold mining and other minerals.

h. Also mining brings beauty accessories and buildings decolation materials.

i. Mining has stimulated the construction activity especially in the supply of corrugated iron sheets for rooting the building etc.

j. It also supplies energy since some minerals are energy resource like coal, petroleum, uranium an natural gas.

Factors that influence the development of mining industry include the following;

1. Availability of capital   to the invested in the mining industry like buying  the machines.

2. Nature of transport system, If the transport system is efficient mining develop fast but if the transport is poor then mining does not develop fast.

3. Labor availability is another factor that influences the development of mining sector. For mining to develop fast there should be readily available labor but if labor is not available  then should be readily available labor but  is not available then mining becomes poor

4. Nature of market if the market is goods then mining industry grown  fast  but if it is poor mining industry develops slowly.

5. Water availability also leads to fast development of the mining are slow if the supply of water is poor. Water is needed for cooling  the engineers of the machines and cleaning the minerals

6. Nature of the government policy. If the policy is supportive the  mining industry develops fast but if the government is non supportive then the mining industry develops so slowly

7. The availability of deposits and their value if  the deposits are large and valuable mining  takes place fast

Problems facing the mining industry in Africa and other parts of the words;

1. Decline or exhausting of the mineral deposits because of over exploitation like coal, copper in Zambia, and some parts of USA and south Africa.

2. Lack of skilled labor in the developing countries like Tanzania  this has led to poor exploration and low yield.

3. Lack of capital in the developing country has led to the decline in the mining industry.

4. Some  countries lack important mineral deposits like Japan and poor quality like coal in Tanzania.

5. Poor transport system especially in the developing countries have let to poor mining activity. Some parts of central Tanzania have poor loads which are impassable during the wet season.

6. Competition with other economic sectors for water supply is another problem. For example is south Africa water  is scarce and  the available is competed for the Agricultural sectored, mining manufacturing industry

7. There is a severe problem of constant power supply, this affects the mining industry.

8. Poor conditions of workers in the mining areas lead to the problem in labor supply.

9. Political problems especially civil wars lead to the poor mining development causes by labor unrest.

10.There are problems of local market especially in the developing world.

11. Also there is a problem of  price fluctuation in the world market  which affect the development of the mining industry in many countries in the world.

12.There are problems of food supply in some countries like in Zambia in Africa. This also led to the poor mining developments.

 Problems caused by the mining Industry;

1.  Mining leads to environmental problems like land degradation soil pollution water pollution and deforestation. When the mineral get  exhausted  and the land is left derelict after being abandoned.

2. It attracts people causing  high population pressure in the mining centers which in turn causes many social and economic problem like  poor     housing unemployment.

3. Mining  leads to the death of people  due to accident s caused  by the collapse of mines.

4.    Mining causes the decline of the economic sectors especially agriculture since many people rush to the mining centers  to soppy.

5.Mining  industry has also led to the occurrence  of political conflict like wars which are taking place in the Democratic Republic of oil.

6.Over concentration on the mining activity leads to the problem of food supply because people give low priority to agriculture. This has been the case in Zambia where  food is being imported from other countries.

Effects of Mining to the environment;

1.It leads to environment  pollution like water pollution, air pollution soil pollution and sound  pollution(noise).

2.Mining  causes land dereliction (abandoning of the exhaust land) This  destroys the nature of the landscape and leads to mineral resource exhausting.

3.  It accelerated deforestation as a result of clearing of vegetation so as to establish the mining centers.

4.  The size of the land is reduced and the soil structure  and texture are destroyed because o the mixture with fragments of rock and hence  plant growth cannot take place easily.

5.Mining leads to the disappear race of valuable plant species.

6.Green house effect and global warming can occur as a result of the use of energy generating minerals like coal, uranium etc. These  minerals produce gases like carbon dioxide, which pollute the atmosphere.

7.  The pits which are flooded with water at as mosquito breeding places and hence accelerate the spread of  malaria.




Gold was first discovered near olefins river travail in 1868. But true mining began in 1886 with deposits are Witwatersrand between Krugersdorp and springs in Transvaal


It is found in the rock layers known as reefs which vary in thickness from a few centimeters to more than a mile. It is the most valuable mineral and has been highly valued throughout the history. Today it is widely used as the basis of world’s money and jewellery. South Africa is the leading produces into the world and it has the largest reserves. About 56% of the worlds output is produced from South Africa.


The main mining area is at Witwatersrand in Transvaal and is the single major mineral producing in South Africa. The Witwatersrand goldmines are close to Johannesburg, a city that grew fast because of gold. Another rich area is in the Orange Free State centered on odendaalsrus where mining began in 1948 and stretches in a 400km arc as well as Natal, but the mines in the western rand are the largest producers in the country.

Methods of Gold mining

Formerly open cast method was dominant since the god seams were near the surface. But today mining involves shaft method. The rocks in the reef is called banked and it is it which is mine.


The banked (gold – bearing rock) is crushed into fine powdery dust and then mixed with water (stirred) until it becomes liquid mud or slime. Then cyanide solution is added to dissolve gold content. Then it is mixed with zinc dust to cause gold to precipitate out, and then gold is smutted and then moulded into bars at Hermiston in the rand. During the process of purifying gold, uranium is also extracted uranium is used for the production of atomic (nuclear) energy.


Factors that facilitated the Development of Gold mining in South Africa;

1.      The  presence  of large deposits in the country especially in the rand the large deposits have made south Africa the leading in the world.

2.   The use of advanced technology into exploration mining and processing of gold. Extensive exploration was done by the foreigners and companies who got involved in the gold mining in South Africa. Other companies are Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Limited (JCIL)  and Johnnies Industrial corporation.

3.    Availability of cheap labor in mining areas was another factor that facilitated the development of gold mining. The companies were using migrant labor from the neighboring countries like Malawi and Mozambique. The laborers were being paid low wages so as to keep the cost of production low and get higher profit.

4.   The development of efficient transport network in the mining areas had a great contribution sector, For example railway construction began at Cape Town 1859 and today a large portion of it is electrified. Also the development of roads in the country has enhanced the gold mining activity into the country. There are ports like coupe town, Durban and Port Elizabeth help in the export of gold.

5.     Large market into the country because of the presence of many industries. There are so many metal working and engineering industries. Also there is a great external market of gold. Gold  accounts for 35% of export trade into eh followed by wool.

6.      Small size of the arable land has led to the concentration on the mining activity.

7.      The value of gold at a global level especially in the marking money and other uses has make the government in south Africa to strongly concentrate on the gold mining.


The Role of gold mining in South Africa;

1.   It has created employment  opportunities to the people of not only  of south Africa also from outside the country like Malawi Tanzania and Mozambique’s who went there as migrant laborers.

2.     It has stimulated the development of towns like Johannesburg as a mining and business center in Transvaal.

3.  It has been contributing to the generation of the government revenue and capital to be invested for further economic development.

4.   It has stimulated the development of industries in the country and other mining activities like uranium, platinum etc.

5.      There has been more development of social services like education.

6.      It has earned south Africa an international  repute and the worlds  evading.

7.      It has stimulated the development of efficient and effective  transport and communication system like railways lines roads lines, roads airways and seaports that encourage exportation of goods.


Negative impacts of Gold Mining in South Africa;

1.   Gold mining contributed to domination of South Africa and the Boers and the introduction of the apartheid policy in the country. The apartheid system brought problems of racialism and segregation whose relics can be seen even today. There are frequent conflict, which offer between the Africans and other nationals.

2.    It has contributed to the occurrence of environmental degradation because of creation of pits and this has led to the disappearance of vegetation. Other environmental problems include air pollution water pollution soil pollution and noise pollution.

3.   Creation of mines has led to the reduction in the size of the arable land and hence the decline in agriculture.

4.   There has occurred high population  in the mining areas and towns  creating some problem of pressure for land, poor housing diseases and unemployment.

5.  The problem associated with the decline in the prices and exhaustion have led to the  laying off (redundancy) of some workers  in the  mining areas for example in 1990 at least 40,000 gold mine workers were laid off in south Africa and this continued  through 1993. Layoffs have  then contributed to the increase in the  rimes and other vices like prostitution etc.

Limitation of Gold Mining in South Africa;

1.    Labor unrest is still a problem because of conflicts, which have been prevailing since the area of apartheid policy.

2.     The rising cost of production because of the deepening of gold  mines and some of the seams are smaller than the country rock bringing problems  of extraction.

3.   The machines have become so old that they need replacement. The old condition of the machines leads to the decrease in efficiency and effectiveness causing the decline in production.

4.    There are raising coast of goods and services especially food supply medicine and education. These affect gold mining extend.

5.   There is a big problem of water supply since South Africa does not experience heavy rains in most of its parts especially the western part. Therefore water available is cooperated for by different sector like agriculture. Industry mining and domestic requirement.

6.   The collapse and  flooding of the mines is another high ring factor  the collapse leads to the killing of the miners and flooding leads to  delays because removing of water from the mines takes long time causing time wastage.

7.      Some  mines get exhaust and are closed done for example in  1994 rand gold closed Durban gold mine leading to the laying off of the workers and decrease into the total production.

8.  The world prices are not stable, they have been fluctuating such that in some years prices have going high and in some years it has been going down. This has contributed to the problems of mining in South Africa because some companies could start paying the workers so poorly to raise the profile. For example the worlds prices fell in 1989 and the industry found that many of the low grade ores were no longer profitable and nearly a half of the gold mines in operation were running at loss. Hence the gold deposits of poor grades bring low profit or loss during when the prices full.



It is the hardest mineral, it is a pure carbon crystal metamorphosed under intense heat. In South Africa diamond was discovered in 1967 and true mining began in 1871 at Kimberley. The Kimberley diamonds fields and later discoveries in Gauteng and along the Atlantic coast emerged as major sources of gem quality diamonds security. South Africa position as the world’s leading producer into hem in – twentieth center. The De Beers consolidated mines company controlled mot of diamond mining and influenced international trade through a diamond – producers alliance of cartel (the central selling organization).


There are two types of diamond deposits that occur in South Africa and these include;

1.  The major deposits which occur in the volcanic kimberlite pipes near Kimberley. Other place are Pretoria, jagersfontein koffiefontin and the recent mine (finsch mine) east of postmansborg. Alluvial diamond deposits  that are mine by small scale miners in the orange, Vaal and Hatz valleys.

Uses of Diamond;

  • Diamond is used for making jewels grinding mills sharpening metal manufacturing the drilling bits, making cutting instruments like for cutting glass and lather machines and diamond dust for polishing.
  • The methods involved in the mining process are placer method or alluvial diamond mined at the small scale in the orange, veal and Hatz valleys and shaft method for the diamond found so deep in the ground. Open cast method which was common at fish mine but was abandoned because of flooding and collapse of miner.
  •  Diamond mining in South Africa has been facing several problems most of which are similar to those which have been affecting gold  mining that is price fluctuation, labor unrest exhaustion, food shortage for the workers and water problems.
  • In terms of price fluctuation the price of diamond dropped in 1987 such  that the De Beers was required to support the market by withholding diamond from the dealers. During this time the annual production of more 10 million carats in 1985 and  in 1987 dropped to 9.1 million in the late 1980.



Iron Ore Distribution

Iron Ore is mined in four main region sand these can be identified as follows;

1.      Lake Superior region: Is the greatest region with the largest amount coming from the Mesabi rangers. Other deposits occur in ranges. The area is soft and easily mined with open cast method, shaft method is also use in some ranges.
The ore is soft and easily mined with open cast method shaft method is also used in some ranges where the deposits are situated deeply. The problem is the high grade ores are exhausting, low grade ores are still abundant and they have to be treated before shipping to upgrade their are content leading to high cost.

2.    North eastern Region: Mainly magnetite ores are mined in the Adirondacks region of New York and Cornwall areas of Pennsylvania. They have the advantage of central location near the industrial cities of New York and Pittsburgh.

3.  The south – Eastern Region: This region centered at Birmingham Alabama, produces both haematite and limonite area. It is favorably located near the coalfields of the southern Appalachians and serves the iron and steel industry of Birmingham.

4.   The western Region: It includes many scattered field in the western USA in the state of Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and California. The ores  are transported  to steelworks at Sam Francisco, los angels, pueblo, Colorado, Provo and Utah.


Factors that have stimulated the development of iron Ore mining in the USA;

1.    The  presence  of all types of iron are some of which are of high grade.

2.  Easy mining where the iron  ores are near to the surface like in the  lake superior region in which open cost method is used.

3.  The use of advanced technology in the exploration mining and processing of iron are this has led to the production of iron of good grade.

4.     Advanced transport and communication system. The transport system has made the  ferrying of iron are to the processing  industries become easy as well as the distribution of power like  coal to the iron industries and the iron products to the customer.

5.    Presence of internal market because of many engineering industries in the  countries for example there are iron and steel industries at Birmingham and Pittsburgh which have creates a strong market for iron.

6.  Large capital availability because of the strong economic base of  the country is rich and hence coulee easily invest in the mining of iron are  mining industry.

7.   Labor availability has also been another driving factor towards the development of iron mining in the USA iron mining needs labor otherwise it can’t take place easily.

8.     The government also has played an instrumental role through encouraging the development of heavy industries. This has been due to the fact that the goal is to attain high level of  industrialization and maintain  the advanced economic level in the country.

9.      Hard working spirit   strong determination among the people has been another vehement dynamo propelling the development of iron  mining so as to attain industrial development and even surpass other countries in the development of economy in the country.

10.The  country, despite terrorist attacks which is the  global issue, has  strong defense  force which  has been capable of maintaining instituting strong security in the country landing to the smooth running of the fundamental activities including mining of iron ore deposits.


Importance of Iron Mining in the USA;

1.      It  has  led to  the development of  metallurgical (heavy) industries like iron and steel industries found in towns of Pittsburgh, sun Francisco, los Angels, Pueblo, carload, prove, Utah, southern end of the lake Michigan (around Chicago and Gary) near the western and of the lake eerie (around Detroit and Toledo ) around Youngstown.

2.    It has to the development  of transport and communication, Locomotives and cars are made because of the influence of iron mining in the country.

3.     It has contributed  to the generation of export earnings this  is  because of a very large market or iron outside the country.

4.      Employment  opportunities have been created solving the problem of unemployment.

5.      It has promoted the iron are mining industry since it needs this energy for smelting.

6.      The capital generation by iron mining has contributed  to the strong investment in the other sectors like tourism and agriculture.

7.      Iron mining has also facilitated the development of towns like Pittsburgh which is referred to as the iron and steel capital of the world.

8.      It has also contributed the generation of the government revenue which is used in the running of different social political and economic matter.

Obstacles facing Iron mining in the USA;

1.      Some of high grade deposits especially around the lake superior are exhausting since they have been extracted so excessively.

2.      Mines are becoming deeper and deeper leading to higher costs of production.

3.     Abundance of low grade iron are also made  the country incur a lot of costs in upgrading the quality of the ore content, especially in the lake superior region.

4.    There is a strong challenge from other countries like west Germany the former USSR and Japan, UK France and some African countries which are posing stiff competition to the US most  of these countries are highly determined to become self reliant on some of resources like iron  are in case they are available within the country.

Problems posed by the Iron ore Mining Industry in the USA:

1.      Land degradation as most of it has long been mined either through open cast of shaft method.

2.    Environmental pollution due to the use of coal as the source of energy in the processing of iron ore. The brining of coal has been emitting great quantities of greenhouse gases like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, which in turn have contributed to air pollution causing acid rain etc. As a return of acid rains there has been a great problem of soil pollution in many parts leading to the decline in agriculture and water polluting cause health problems to man and aquatic organism. USA is renowned in terms of being the major contributor in the environmental pollution.

3.      When mineral deposits get exhausted cause the problem of unemployment. Jobless people into various vicious activities like burglary, robbery and prostitution.

4.      Overpopulation  because of in migration of people who have been attracted by the iron mining industry.

5.      It has also accelerated the increase in the urban problems like congestion or traffic jams. This has been due to the making of many cars as regular large scale iron mining.



Iron mining is very important to the economy of Liberia. The areas with mineral deposits include Bomi Hills, Bong mountains, Nimibia mountains and Bie Mountain ranges. Open cast method is widely used.

Factors for the Development of Iron Mining in Liberia;

1.      Availability of iron are both high grade and low grade.

2.      Development of the railway to Bomi hills from Monrovia.

3.      Labor availability since west Africa has high population.

Advantages of Iron mining in Liberia;

1.      It  has contributed to the export earning.

2.      It has contributed to the development  of  industries especially steel industry at Buchanan.

3.      It has encouraged the development of towns.

4.   The mining industry has stimulated the development of social services like schools, hospitals, shops and policy station.

5.      It has led to the improvement of deport facilities  such Buchanan.

6.      Iron mines have provide the market for the locally produced food stuffs.

7.      It has stimulated the development  of  infrastructure  like the rally’s system etc.

Problems facing Iron mining;

1.      Competition from others  like south Africa which also produce iron.

2.      There is exhaustion of deposits in the mining areas.

3.      Poor  transport  from other  west African countries.

4.      The  deposits are scattered.

5. Civil war between governments and the rebels, which are taking place in the country, bring problems in the iron ore mining and iron extraction.



Sweden is endowed with iron minerals among other types of minerals. Areas where iron mining takes place include places around kiruna and other mining centers at Gulliver and Svapavaara.

Factors for the development of Iron mining in Sweden;

1.      The development of the railway stimulated the iron mining industry.

2.      High market in Europe due to the developed industry especially in Germany.

3.      Power supply from the great hydroelectric plant at Porjus etc.

4.      The use of advanced technology.

5.      The government support on the industrial development.

6.      Constant water supply needed in the cooling of engines and cleaning.

7.      High government stability has encouraged the mining industry.

8.      Availability of high grade iron deposits.

Importance of Iron Industry in Sweden;

1.      Creation of employment opportunities.

2.      It has stimulated the development of transport and communication.

3.   It has led to the development of heavy industries including steel and iron industry as well as car and ship building industry. Volvo and Scania cars are produced in Sweden.

4.      It has promoted agriculture, forestry and tourism.

5.      International trade has expanded.

6.      Towns have developed due to the contribution of iron ore mining.

7.      Social services have improved to a great extent.

Problems facing Iron industry in Sweden;

  •       Formation of ice in winter at the Lulea port complicated the transportation. To solve this problem another link was formed to ice free port at Narvik.
  • .      Exhaustion of the iron deposits due to excessive extraction.
  • .      Stiff challenge from the environmentalists who are against the current trend of fast industrial development.



Nigeria has large deposits of tin ore called cassiterite. It is found in the Jos (Bauchi) plateau. Nigeria is the sixth country in the world.

Use of Tin

Tin is used in canning, soldering (sealing up joints or leaks in metal objects), alloying (eg mixing with copper to get bronze) and roofing materials like the corrugated iron sheets.

The common method used in mining is open cast method where there are shallow deposits. For deep deposits massive mechanical grabs are used.


Tin is smelted and cooled into blocks of pure metal. These blocks are called ingots. Then ingots arerailed to Port Harcourt for export.

Limitations that Nigeria is facing in terms of tin mining include:

1.      -Exhaustion of the deposits leading to decline in the total production and unemployment.

2.      -Price fluctuation in the world market such that sometimes prices become so low discouraging tin mining.

3.      -Labor supply is poor due to flow of people to more valuable minerals.

4.      -New deposits have been discovered in the countries posing a great challenge to tin mining in Nigeria.


Copper is found in every continent and small quantities are produced by a large number of countries. The leading producers are the USA (17% of the world total), the former USSR (14% of the world total), Chile, Zambia, The democratic republic of Congo (DRC) and Canada. In East Africa Uganda also produces copper. World total output is about 8 millions tones.

Copper mining and processing;

Most copper mines are operated by open cast method while in some areas shaft method is used where the deposits are deep. After excavation copper is usually mingled with such enormous proportion of wastes.

In the processing stage copper ores are first crushed and mechanically sorted and then washed with water using the floatation or gravitational process in the same way as in alluvial mining, so that heavier copper bearing particles are separated from the unwanted material. The concentrate is then dried and sent to the copper smelters who are usually located near coal-fields or any source of cheap fuel where it is reduced to copper blisters contain traces of other metals such as gold and zinc and these are removed through further refining. Refining is done electrically.


Historical background

The development of copper mining in 1909 after a railway line had reached Kabwe. But at the beginning copper mining was retarded by diseases, inaccessibility and technical ignorance and World War 1


Mining zone

Mining takes place in the Zambian belt which covers a zone of about 110 km long and accounts for 10% of the world’s total production. The region contains 25% of the world’s proven copper reserves. Copper mining in Zambia is carried out in a number of mines which include Roan Antelope and Nkana which were opened after WWII include Chibuluma (1995) Bancroft (1957) and Chambishi (1965). The Anglo-American corporation has highly been involving itself in operating these mines. Other mines which have been opened recently are Bwanakubwa and Nampundwe. Mining methods include pen cast method especially at Nchanga and Chambishi and Shaft method especially at Roan Antelope, Rhokhana, Chibuluma, Kitwe, Chingola, Mafulira and Bancroft.

Contribution of Copper to the development of Zambia;

1.         -It has highly been the main economic pillar of the country. It is the main export product in the countries. Zambia has been ranking the second in terms of copper production in the world the first being the United States. Copper contributes about 90% of the export earnings in the country.

2.      -It has facilitated the development of power stations like hydroelectric power centers at the Kariba and Kafue dams.

3.         -It has contributed to the creation of employment opportunities in the country.

4.       -It has stimulated the industrial development. For example smelting industry has been developed at Mufulira, Kitwe, Luanshya and Ndola.

5.      -Towns have developed as a result on mining.

6.      -It has stimulated the development of infrastructure like railway and road network.

7.      -There has been improvement in the social services like education, medical services etc.

8.      -It has earned the country an international recognition as the second largest producer of copper after the US.

9.      -It has enhanced the rise in the living standard of the people especially those employed in the mining section.

10   -It has created market for agricultural food products.

11   -It has also stimulated international relations with other countries.

Problems Facing Copper mining;

1.       -Price fluctuation which has been taking place especially involving the falling of the world market.

2.      -Shortage of food due to the decline of agriculture caused by the concentration on the mining activities rather than agriculture.

3.      -Some mines have been getting exhausted leading to the decline in the total production of copper in the country.

4.     -It also faces a great need for fuel required for refining copper in the processing industries. This is due to the fact that power supply centers are also facing many hindering problems like unreliable power generation due to water level problems etc.

5.     -There is a problem of labor following the exodus of many people from Zambia to South Africa in the land.

6.   -It also faces the problem of land lockedness. This has made Zambia incur a lot of costs in transporting copper through other countries like Tanzania (Dar es salaam), Angola (Lobito) and Mozambique (Beira).

7.  -There are problems of political instability especially in the neighboring countries and these affects Zambia’s transport schedules. For example conflicts in southern Mozambique and Angola have forced Zambia to rely on TAZARA line which today has become over burdened especially at Dar es Salaam. Political insecurity has also kept away the expatriate staff vital to the smooth operation of the mines.

8.  -The decline in the earnings from copper has even made it difficult for the government to maintain the existing transport network in the country.

9.  -Flooding in the mines is another problem, which reduce efficiency and effectiveness in copper mining in the country. Flooding implies that time has to be wasted in removing water from the pits before resuming the process of mining.

10 -Diseases like Malaria, HIV/ AIDs and Ebola have also been another big problem in the region. These cause deterioration of health and death of people.

11 -Lack of capital to be invested in father exploration and mining of copper.


 Problems caused by copper mining.

1.      -Land degradation and dereliction due to the excavation and exhaustion of the mines. Dereliction creates an ugly landscape in the areas concerned with mining.

2.      -Copper mining has contributed to the decline in agriculture leading to food shortage such that the country imports food from other countries. Most of the people prefer mining to cultivation.

3.    -It has also led to rural-urban migration leading to over concentration of people in the mining towns, creating pressure for land.

4.      -Political instability has been due to the struggle for the control of the copper belt.


Copper mining is also taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mining takes place in the Katanga Copper belt which is the continuation of Zambia copper belt. The Katanga (Shaba) – Copper belt forms the backbone (Cornerstone) of the country’s mining industry. The Katanga copper belt extends 320 km from Lubumbashi westwards to Kolwezi. In the DRC (Zaire) full exploitation began when the railway from the south reached Lubumbashi 1910. Open cast method dominates since deposits lie near to the surface except at Kipushi. The open cast centers are Kolwezi, Ruwe, and Musonoikamoto etc. Refining is done at Likasi, Shituri and Luilu. Smelting is done at Lubumbashi, Likasi and Kolwezi. After smelting it is sent to Lobito, Matadi, Beira and Dar es Salaam ports for export.

Contribution of copper to the development of the country;

  • Copper mining has contributed to the generation of the government revenue.
  • creation of capital to be invested in different economic sectors.
  • improvement in transport and communication especially the construction of railway and roads.
  • development of power centers at Lufira and Luabara rivers for supplying energy to the mining centers and smelting industries.
  • stimulation of the development of towns like Lubumbashi, creation of employment opportunities and stimulation of industrial development.

Problem facing Copper mining in the DRC;

Problems faced in the copper mining include mineral exhaustion leading to the decline of total output, deepening of the mines causing the rise in the operating costs, Land lockedness causing the increase in the transport costs when passing through other countries, Diseases affecting the health of the people like Ebola, the ongoing political conflicts make people restless and fail to deal with mining effectively, poor coal from Luera for providing energy and world’s price fluctuation. If it were not for the conflicts the DRC could have overtaken Zambia in the production of Copper.



In Morocco, phosphates are the most important mineral and the country is the world’s leading exporter of this mineral. High quality phosphates are mined since 1964. There are about 60 phosphates mines but the main mine deposits are those at Khouribga, Youssonfia (Louis Gentil) and Ben Guerir within Maseta. Phosphate mining is state owned. Phosphates are used for manufacturing fertilizer.

The factors which facilitated the development of phosphate mining in Morocco;

1.      -Agricultural development in many parts of Africa especially following the strong need for fertilizers in order to expand agricultural production of food crops so as to provide food for the burgeoning population as well as cash crop production.

2.      -Capital availability that could be invested in the mining sector and establishment of industries for manufacturing for super phosphate fertilizers in the country.

3.      -High demand for fertilizers from outside Africa stimulated the zeal to develop phosphate mining.

4.     -The presence of high quality large reserves that amount to 50 billion metric tons encouraged the Government to invest in phosphate mining.

5.      -Efficient transport system especially the railway line linking the mineral deposits to the Casablanca and safi ports for export. For example railway line to Ben Guerir is electrified.

6.     -Power supply from major Hydro-electric plants located on the Quel el-abid (Bi el Quadaneaam) and Afourer Rivers. Morocco has better geographical conditions for the production of Hydro-electric power than the other countries in the Maghreb. Hydro-electric power provides about 72% of all the electricity produced in Morocco. Hence, the larger power supply has facilitated the development of phosphate mining in the country.


 Advantage of phosphate mining in Morocco;

1.      -Agricultural production has been promoted in many countries following the manufacture of fertilizer and the improvement of soil quality. In Morocco major agricultural development schemes have been developed and phosphate fertilizer is largely used in the production process. The problem of food shortage has been reduced in many parts of continent since some countries even produce surplus and supply to the countries, which face the problem of food shortage due to agricultural crisis.

2.        -It has contributed to the creation of employment in the county. People are employed in the phosphate mining areas and in the phosphate manufacturing industries.

3.      -It has provided a great market to the hydro-electric power produced in the major power centers.

4.      -The export of phosphates fertilizer and phosphate minerals has earned the country foreign currency.

5.   -It has stimulated the development of industries like fertilizer manufacturing industries and agricultural products processing industries.

Other countries which produces phosphates;

1.      Uganda with estimated reserves of 200 million tons at Tororo. The ores contain 13% of phosphate and is used for manufacturing fertilizers.

2.      Tanzania has a reserve of 10 million tons of high quality phosphates found at Minjingu near Lake Manyara. Other deposits occur in Togo and Senegal.


Uranium is used for generating nuclear energy. The countries which produce uranium are South Africa, Niger, Canada, France etc


It is produced in the northern part of the country where the reserves are estimated to be more than 160,000 metric tons. They were being exploited at the rate of 3,000 metric tons per year in 1999’s. Uranium accounts for ¾ of the country’s annual mineral exports.



1.      1. Identify the factors that determine the development of mining industry in the country.

2.      2. Show the role of mining industry in the economic development of the country

3.      3. Why is mining industry referred to as a robber industry?

4.      4. Show the factors that have facilitated the development of mining industry in:-

(a)  Sweden (Iron mining)

(b)  USA (Coal mining)

(c)  South Africa (Diamond)

(d)  The DRC (Copper mining)

(e)  Zambia (Copper mining)

(f)   Tanzania (Gold Mining)

(g)  Uganda (Copper mining)

(h)  South Africa (Gold and Diamond mining)

5.      5. Identify the factors limiting the development of mining industry in Tanzania.

6.      6. Show the problems facing coal mining in USA

7.      7. Explain the effect of the mining industry on the environment

8.      8. How can mining cause:

(a)  Water pollution?

(b)  Air pollution.

(c)  Noise pollution.

(d)  Soil pollution.

(e)  Global warming.

9.      9. Identify different methods used in the mining process.

10 10. Choose any of the mining methods and show its advantages and disadvantages.

11 11. To what extent can one argue that Zambia is the mining country?

12 12. Account for the declining trend of copper mining in the democratic republic of Congo

13 13. Explain the distribution of copper deposits in Zambia and The Democratic Republic of Congo.

14 14. What are the prospects and problems of mining in East Africa?

15 15 Mining in Tanzania has a bright future. Discuss.


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