Madagascar does not have a well-developed mineral industry, although there is vast potential to discover and develop new deposits. Excluding gold and gem production by artisanal miners, mining makes up less than 1% of GDP (3% when the informal sector is counted) and employs just 1% of the workforce.
Madagascar is noted for its production of good quality chemical and metallurgical grade chromite, high-grade crystalline flake graphite, mica and semi precious stones. The country has the world’s largest reserves of sapphires and is also the world’s tenth largest producer of chromite. However, the island has other deposits containing gold, nickel, cobalt, heavy mineral sands, bauxite, coal and petroleum products. Madagascar’s coal potential has been estimated to contain as much as 100 Mt of good quality coal. Here resources are located in the southwestern parts of the country, but the location and poor infrastructure of the region has been a deterrent. In order to develop these numerous possibilities, the country’s infrastructure will need to be seriously upgraded and developed. The geology of the island has only recently been studied in any great detail. Similarities exist with that of Mozambique and Sri Lanka.
Madagascar has identified deposits of bauxite, uranium, quartz, copper, lead, labradorite, rock-crystal, hodolite and marble. There are also known deposits containing 400 Mt of iron ore, and resources of coal at Sakoa in the southeast of the island where the total resource is probably in excess of 500 Mt.
Madagascar has known bauxite deposits in Manantenina in the southeast of the country, which have been estimated at containing 100 Mt of bauxite. 400Mt of iron ore are also reported near Solala. However, there is a lack of infrastructure to service these mineral deposits for economical exploitation.
The country also produces and exports graphite, labradorite, marble, lead, mica, small quantities of beryllium, gold, rare earth minerals and industrial minerals such as, cement, feldspar, ornamental stone, gemstones, quartz and salt.
The 1990 Mining Code made provisions for three types of mining permits, which were further subdivided into exploration and exploitation permits. Exploration and exploitation type 1 permits were granted only to individuals or groups of Malagasy nationality and were valid for 2 years. Types 2 and 3 permits, valid for 3 and 5 years, respectively, are designed for small to large mining companies incorporated under Malagasy law. Under the mining code, the maximum size areas of types 2 and 3 exploration permits were 400 and 1,000 km², respectively.
Following a 75 % reduction in land holdings during the exploration phase, the next types 2 and 3 exploitation permits allowed for maximum holdings of 100 and 200 km², respectively. The Malagasy Parliament passed a new petroleum law in 1995.
Henitrade Ltd, Madagascar Ministry of Mines and Energy, Office for National Mining and Strategic Industries, QIT Madagascar Minerals SA, Societe Kraomita Malagasy, Societé Malgache d’Exploitations Minieres
Ambatovy Mine, Andriamana, Andriamena, Bemanevika, Toalagnaro