The oil and gas sectors have dominated Algeria’s natural resource industry. However, Algeria’s government is making renewed efforts to attract investment in the poorly developed mining sector. Currently all mining and exploration activities are controlled by the Holding of Public Mines which manages 32 mines, 26 quarries and 8 processing plants as well as several suppliers of goods and services to the mining industry.
Algeria’s proximity to Europe, low labour costs, excellent but untapped geological potential and government’s willingness to develop the mining industry make Algeria a prospective target for the international mining community. The Algerian Resource agency, Office National de la Recherche Géologique et Minière (ORGM), has been made responsible for enhancing foreign investment in Algerian mining. To date, the agency has completed aeromagnetic, geophysical and aerial photographic coverage of the whole country at a scale of 1:50 000. An estimated $1 billion has spent on exploration and development in Algeria over the last few years.
Algeria’s major mining operations include the 3 million ounce Tirek Amesmessa gold mine; the 2400 million tonne Djebel Onk phosphate mine: the 5000 million tonne Quenza and Bou Khrada iron ore mines; plus several industrial mineral mines producing salt, bentonite and barite.
There is limited diamond potential in the Reggane area, which has known alluvial deposits. De Beers have apparantly expressed interest in the kimberlite potential of this region.