Senegal is the westernmost country bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the African continent, and shares borders with Mauritania, Mali, The Gambia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. Senegal possesses a wealth of diverse and unexplored minerals deposits. The substratum of the Senegalese territory offers great varieties of minerals including gold and platinum, iron, uranium, base metals, industrial minerals, heavy minerals, decorative stones and building materials, etc.

Despite the wealth of mineral deposits present in Senegal, the industry has been relatively dormant for some time. Until recently, mining in Senegal was limited to the exploitation of phosphates, industrial limestone and attapulgite. This has begun to change, with some of the larger mining companies starting to grasp the opportunities that Senegal’s mining sector now offers. Indeed, after having promoted since its independence in 1960, the exploitation of phosphates has emerged as one of the pillars of the economy.


The modern mining history of Senegal dates to the 1940s and 1950s with the opening of the two large phosphate mines of Taiba and Lam-Lam in the region of Thies, 70km from the capital city, Dakar. These very important phosphate deposits secured the success of the Senegalese economy for several decades.

Therefore, the government has undertaken important reforms to valorise all these resources. On the one hand, these reforms aim at improving the business environment, and on the other hand modernising the legal framework and the geological infrastructures to attract and develop foreign direct investments. Indeed, in the World Bank’s latest ‘Doing Business’ report, Senegal has been ranked as the top reforming country in Africa, and fifth in the world. This attests the government’s
objective to establish an international first-class business environment.


Senegal has been one of the world’s leading phosphate producers, with major deposits at Taiba, Thiès and Matam. Phosphates and their derivatives accounted for more than 6% of goods exports in 2006. In the north-eastern part of the Basin in the Matam province, the existence of important phosphate deposits with an average proven reserve of 40Mt has been discovered since 1984. The phosphates are of very high quality (28.5% P₂O₅) and poor on cadmium (5ppm) and weak overburden.

The Senegalese sedimentary basin is also rich in other minerals, including zircon, titanium, industrial limestone, attapulgite, peat and natural gas. The basement rocks in Kedougou in the southeastern part of Senegal (at the crossroads between the West African countries) contain important deposits of gold (Sabodala, Niakifiri, Massawa, Goulouma, Masato and Niamia, for example), iron ore, marble, plus significant uranium, copper and chromium occurrences, making this province an important area for exploration.

International interest is rapidly growing in what Senegal’s heavy mineral sands have to offer. This type of ore deposit can be an important source of industrial minerals such as zircon and occasionally precious metals and gemstones. Mineral sands are found along the country’s Atlantic seaboard which some big mining companies have described as “world-class” deposits


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Mining accounts for less than 2% of GDP.

The phosphates production sector dominates the mining industry in Senegal: 1.5 Mt of phosphate is produced each year, accounting for up to 17% of export earnings.

There are large-scale, good-quality iron ore deposits.