Mozambique mineral resources

Mineral Resources and their Distribution across Mozambique

Mozambique is endowed with a wealth of minerals that are spread across its various provinces. These resources play a significant role in the nation's economy, attracting international investments and bolstering export earnings. It is essential for the sustained economic growth and environmental conservation of Mozambique to manage these resources responsibly and sustainably. 

Below is an overview of the major minerals and their occurrences within Mozambique.

Energy Minerals

Energy minerals include coal, oil, and natural gas. The provinces of Tete, Manica, Sofala, and Niassa are known for their substantial coal deposits. Oil reserves have been identified off the shores of the Rovuma Basin in Cabo Delgado and the Bazaruto Basin in Inhambane. Natural gas is abundantly found in Cabo Delgado, particularly around Palma, and in Sofala and Inhambane, especially at the Temane and Pande fields.

Metallic Minerals

Gold is found in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa, Nampula, Manica, Tete, Zambézia, and Sofala. Iron ore is extracted in the iron-rich areas of Manica and Nampula, while copper is located in the provinces of Manica, Zambézia, and Tete.

Heavy Mineral Sands

Deposits of heavy mineral sands are located in the provinces of Gaza, Nampula, Inhambane, and Zambézia, notably in Chibuto, Moma, Jangamo, Moebase, and Chinde.

Non-metallic Minerals

Marble of high quality is mined in Montepuez, Cabo Delgado. Significant graphite deposits are found in Ancuabe and Balama in Cabo Delgado, as well as in Tete and Nampula. Fluorite occurs in Cabo Delgado, Sofala, Tete, and Nampula.

Precious and Semi-precious Stones

These valuable resources are scattered across the provinces of Zambézia, Nampula, Cabo Delgado, Niassa, and Tete.

Additional Mineral Occurrences

Apatite is present in the provinces of Nampula and Tete. Diamonds are extracted in the Gaza province. Bentonite is available and utilized in Maputo. Bauxite deposits are located in Manica and Zambézia. Limestone can be found in Maputo, Sofala, and Nampula. Kaolin and clay are present in Nampula and Zambézia, with clay being available throughout the country.

The Provinces of Mozambique

The Rovuma bassin

These diverse mineral deposits provide significant opportunities for Mozambique's economic development. The coal reserves of the Tete province and the natural gas fields in the Rovuma Basin are particularly noteworthy. The discovery and exploitation of these minerals have led to a marked increase in international investments, significantly enhancing the country's export revenues.

Geographical Location

The Rovuma Basin is a sedimentary basin located off the southeastern coast of Africa. It lies in the Indian Ocean and stretches across the border between Mozambique and Tanzania, primarily off the shores of the northern province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique. The basin encompasses an area where the Rovuma River meets the Indian Ocean, which makes it transboundary in nature.

Size and Extent

Covering an area of approximately 155,000 square kilometers, the Rovuma Basin extends over a significant maritime territory with depths ranging from shallow coastal waters to several thousand meters offshore. The basin is part of the larger East African rift system, which dates back to the Jurassic period. It is renowned for its vast undeveloped natural resources, particularly hydrocarbons.

Economic Factors and Prospects

The discovery of substantial offshore natural gas reserves has positioned the Rovuma Basin as a potentially major player in the global natural gas market. Initial estimates suggest that the basin holds upwards of 100 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, which represents one of the largest gas discoveries in recent history. These reserves have the potential to transform Mozambique's economy by attracting large-scale foreign investments and enabling the country to become a significant exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The exploration and development of the Rovuma Basin's gas resources have been pursued by international energy companies in partnership with the Mozambican government. The involvement of these players has brought technical expertise and financial capacity crucial for tapping into these resources.

The natural resources of Tete province 

The Tete province in Mozambique is particularly known for its abundant natural resources, most notably coal, which has placed the region on the map as a significant global player in terms of mineral extraction. Here iare the main the natural resources found in Tete:

Coal Reserves: Tete is home to one of the world's largest untapped coal reserves. The coalfields of Moatize are amongst the most notable, with estimated coal reserves of over 2.5 billion tons, consisting predominantly of coking coal used in steel production and thermal coal for electricity generation. Significant investments from multinational mining corporations have been made to extract and export coal mainly to the global markets.

Hydroelectric Power: The Zambezi River runs through Tete province and is harnessed for hydroelectric power, most famously by the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam, one of Africa's largest dams. This facility generates a substantial amount of electricity, not only for domestic consumption but also for export to neighboring countries, making it a crucial component of the regional power grid.

Precious and Semi-Precious Stones: Tete province also has deposits of various gemstones, including garnets and beryls. Although not as significant as the coal industry, gemstone mining contributes to the local economy and has the potential for further development.