Because of its ability to harden platinum and palladium, ruthenium is used in platinum and palladium alloys to make wear-resistant electrical contacts. In this application, only thin plated films are used to achieve the necessary wear-resistance. Because of its lower cost and similar properties compared to rhodium,  the use as plating material for electric contacts is one of the major applications. The thin coatings are either applied by electroplating or sputtering. Ruthenium dioxide and lead and bismuth ruthenates are used in thick-film chip resistors. These two electronic applications account for 50% of the ruthenium consumption
Ruthenium price
7 years

Supply and demand

Soaring demand for hard disk storage drives caused the ruthenium price to break through the $700/oz mark for the first time ever. That’s because ruthenium is a key coating material in the manufacture of hard drives and thanks to a change from “longitudinal magnetic recording” to “perpendicular magnetic recording” the thickness of ruthenium coatings has doubled. Total use of ruthenium will rise to a record peak of 1.34 million oz in 2007 from 1.29 million in 2006, according to Johnson Matthey.

South African platinum miners, particularly those exposed to UG2 reefs where ruthenium is most plentiful, Lonmin (with 75% of operations exposed to UG2), Implats and Angloplats (50%) and Northam (35%), are the main suppliers. (Source: MiningMx)

Roughly 12 tonnes of ruthenium is mined each year with world reserves estimated as 5,000 tonnes. The composition of the mined platinum group metal (PGM) mixtures varies in a wide range depending on the geochemical formation. For example, the PGMs mined in South Africa contain on average 11% ruthenium while the PGMs mined in the former USSR contain only 2% based on research dating from 1992.


Cobalt is primarily used as the metal, in the preparation of magnetic, wear-resistant and high-strength alloys. Its compounds cobalt silicate and cobalt aluminate (CoAl2O4, cobalt blue) give a distinctive deep blue color to glass, smalt, ceramics, inks, paints and varnishes. Cobalt occurs naturally as only one stable isotope, cobalt-59. Cobalt-60 is a commercially important radioisotope, used as a radioactive tracer and for the production of high intensity gamma rays. Cobalt is the active center of coenzymes called cobalamins, the most common example of which is vitamin B12. As such it is an essential trace dietary mineral for all animals. Cobalt in inorganic form is also an active nutrient for bacteria, algae and fungi.

Cobaltite from Cobalt District, Ontario, Canada
Cobaltite - CoAsS- from Cobalt  District, Ontario, Canada

Cobalt price: 12 months
Cobalt charts on

Link to cobalt supply and demand:

RankCountryWorld Mine Production, By Country (Metric tons, cobalt content) in 2009
1Congo, The Democratic Republic Of The35,50035500
2Russian Federation6,1006100
12New Caledonia1,0001000
13South Africa610610
Year of Estimate: 2009
Annual market demand for cobalt was 60,000t in 2007 of which 45,000t was "fresh demand". The market recycled a portion of the metal supply every year.
Most of the world's cobalt is produced as a by-product or co-product of nickel and copper ores. In the DRC and in Zambia, cobalt is a significant co-product of stratiform, sediment-hosted copper-cobalt ores. The largest single source of cobalt lies within the stratiform copper deposits of the Central African Copperbelt in Zambia and the DRC. This mineralized belt of numerous deposits combining approximately 5,4 billion tons, is approximately 480 km long and between 32 and 48 km wide.
Minerals containing cobalt were used by to the early civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia for colouring glass deep blue. Modern day uses are as an alloy with iron, nickel and other metals to produce corrosion and wear resistant products used in high temperature applications such as jet engines and gas turbine engines. Cobalt based alloys are also used in high abrasion resistant steels. Cobalt oxide is still an important additive in paint, glass and ceramics, which gives them a brilliant and permanent blue colour.
At present, the largest consumer of cobalt is Asia at 44%, followed by Europe and North America at 30% and 26% respectively.

Clear and cobalt blue cut crystal Russian Empire vase on a white marble base.

Cobalt exploration and mining in Africa

Click HERE for an overview (Mbendi)

Africa produces 42% of the world’s cobalt. Cobalt is produced primarily from the Zambian/DRC Copperbelt along with copper and as a by-product of the Bushveld Platinum mines in South Africa.

  • Chambishi Metals plc (a joint venture of International Metals Resources and the Beni Stein Group Resources) is the largest cobalt producer in Zambia with a forecasted production of 4 000 t of cobalt for 2007. It produced about 3 400 t in 2006. Chambishi expects to raise output to 5 000 t/y in 2010 from 3 000 t/y now by buying extra raw material, a senior company official said in September, 2007. The company would raise cobalt output to 4 000 t/y after Zambia's new Mulyashi copper mine comes on stream in the first quarter of 2008.
  • Caledonia Mining Corporation has signed a cobalt offtake agreement with a Chinese refiner, for cobalt produced at the company's Nama project, in northern Zambia.
    Caledonia will supply a minimum of 21 000 t of cobalt metal equivalent, in the form of cobalt hydroxide, from the Nama projecty over a six-year period.
    The company is planning to start producing from the openpit mine earlyin 2009, and expects output to average 10 000 t/y of cobalt metal.
    The offtake deal announced in January, 2008, specifies that the price will be based on the published monthly average for 99,3% cobalt from the London Metal Exchange, and contains a guaranteed 'take or pay' minimum cobalt price of $12/lb of cobalt metal. The spot price for cobalt at that stage was $44/lb.
  • Central African Mining and Exploration Company plc (CAMEC) plans to re-start production at what it says is the world's largest cobalt deposit, Mukondo in the DRC, with its joint venture partner Prairie International at the beginning of 2008 to supply the market with 6,000t of cobalt in 2008. The Mukondo deposit contains 350,000 t of cobalt, of which 250,000 t would be recovered over a period of 15 years.
  • Geovic Mining is developing nickel-cobalt deposits in Cameroon and Uganda has the potential to develop new nickel – cobalt deposits.


Geological Survey of Algeria and Mining Control Agency (ANGCM) (Agence Nationale de la Géologie et du Contrôle Minier)
Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM) (Ministère de l'Energie et des Mines)
Tour B, Val d'Hydra, Alger
 +213-21 48 85 09      
Fax: +213-21 48 84 64

Dr. Belkacem TOUAHRI, Senior Economic Geologist

Algeria Mining Act 2001

CIA Factbook
Political rights and civil liberties (Freedom House)
Arabic-English online dictionary
Travel and accommodation

The contribution of mining to total exports in 2010 amounted to 4.1%

Algeria Mining News

Source: CIA Factbook


Geologically, Algeria is divided into three contrasting tectono-stratigraphic domains: the West African Craton, consisting of Precambrian granitic basement and surrounding Neoproterozoic mobile belts, outcrops in the south and west of the country. The limit of the Craton is broadly defined by the Tuareg Shield which comprises the Hoggar, Adrar des Iforas and Air sub-shields affected by Pan African tectono-thermal events. In the north a series of folded and thrust-bound strata belonging to the younger Alpine Chain extend over the entire length of the Maghreb region.


The Algerian Resource agency, Office National de la Recherche Géologique et Minière (ONRGM), has been made responsible for enhancing foreign investment in Algerian mining. To date, the agency has completed aeromagnetic, geophysical and (1:50,000 scale) aerial photographic coverage of the whole country. An estimated $1 billion has spent on exploration and development in Algeria over the last few years. In 2008 Algeria was the third largest producer of iron ore and the fourth largest pig iron and steel producer in Africa accounting for 3.24%, 5.58% and 3.74% per cent respectively of total output. Although no mined zinc output is recorded, Algeria is Africa’s fourth largest producer of slab zinc (8.94%). Gold production in 2008 recovered to 2005 levels. Silver production, however, which was a secondary by-product of the gold mining, slumped to 20 per cent of the 2007 output. Algeria is an important producer of many industrial minerals. In 2008 it was Africa’s leading producer of diatomite (78.8%), second largest producer of barytes (7.45%), gypsum (26.2%), feldspar (27.5%) and kaolin (7.84%), fourth largest for bentonite (19.4%), fifth largest for phosphate rock (4.36%) and eighth largest for salt (4.1%). Gypsum, feldspar and salt production increased by 39.5%, 39.3% and 10.1% respectively whereas barytes (-4.8%), bentonite (-6.2%) and diatomite (-11.83%) registered modest decreases and other industrial minerals showed no significant change.
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 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 apparently expressed interest in the kimberlite potential of this region.

Oil & Gas

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. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 22% of GDP, and over 94% of export earnings. Oil and gas fields are located in anticlines, faulted anticlines or domes; the productive reservoirs are in Cambro-Ordovician, basal Triassic, Devonian and Carboniferous sandstones and the sealing beds comprise Triassic evaporite sequences and Carboniferous- Devonian shales. Major source rocks were organic-rich Silurian shales. Algeria was Africa’s leading producer of natural gas (41.5%) and was ranked sixth worldwide accounting for 2.86 per cent of total output. It is the fifth largest gas exporter (est. 59.67 billion m3 in 2008) and is ranked ninth in the world (2.5%) for proven reserves (est. 4.502 trillion m3 at the yearend 2008). Algeria is also the second largest producer of helium accounting for 11.6 per cent of world output. It has 21 per cent of the total world identified resources of helium. Algeria’s oil production in 2008 has decreased by only 0.6 per cent but the country had slipped in the rankings from second to the fourth largest producer in Africa (17.4%) and 15th in the world (2.2%). The country has proven crude petroleum reserves of 1.66 billion tonnes, equivalent to about 1 per cent of the world total.

Maps and images

Historical (Source: Algerian Government)
Before independence (1962), Mining in Algeria was mainly oriented towards the exploitation of deposits of iron and lead - zinc.
Between the two world wars, Algeria was a major producer of iron ore in the world, its production has contributed to the prosperity of manufacturing industries in several European countries, especially France, Britain and Germany .
During the 1950s, especially during the war of national liberation, foreign mining companies have accelerated the process of skimming deposits and limited or stopped investing in this sector.
In the aftermath of independence, foreign operators have abandoned after several mines made the most profit, no activity remained in the mines still "viable", such as those of phosphate, zinc, iron, barite, coal and salt.
Exploration effort during the past 30 years has developed the basic geological infrastructure and inventory a large number of deposits and showings, some of which offer real investment opportunities for their business and that the Algerian state has decided to promote and develop.
Through its experience in international cooperation and partnership, a law more flexible, a significant human resource potential and high level technical skills, Algeria remains an open country for certain forward-looking development .


Mining in Algeria is very old and mining potential are very diverse (more than thirty substances). But the ancient deposits of iron, salt, zinc, lead, barite, marble, ... have been added for deposits of gold, wolfram, tin, which constitute the mineral potential to exploit or explore in the future, and indices promising for diamonds, rare earths, rare metals and precious and semi-precious

Prospecting has been conducted in the region of Reggane where an area has been identified, which yielded more than 1500 microdiamonds. Prospecting is ongoing in this area, but the effort has recently also been directed towards the discovery of primary sources including that part of the West African craton in Algeria.


Most of the geological potential is located southwest of the country with 3.5 billion tonnes at 57% Fe These deposits Mecheri Abdelaziz and Gara Djebilet, located 250 km east of Tindouf .
The potential located north of the country is estimated at around 70 million tonnes, divided between deposits and Ouenza Boukhadra - (60 million tons) and the index of Djebel-Setif-Hanini (12 million tonnes to 60% Fe)

The Gara Djebilet and Mechri Abdelaziz iron deposits are 250 km apart and located approximately 130 km to the southeast and 400 km east of Tindouf respectively in far western Algeria. Gara Djebilet is 300 km directly from the Atlantic Ocean (via Mauritania or Morrocco) and 1600 km south of the Mediterranean coast of Algeria.

The deposit Ghara Djebilet was discovered in 1952 and has a resource of  3.5 billion tonnes of which  1.7 billion tonnes are exploitable at a grade of 57% iron.

These deposits are hosted within the Early Devonian sediments of the Tindouf Basin in the Algerian Sahara of North Africa and is an important occurrence of the 'North African Palaeozoic Ironstone Belt' extending from the Zemmour to Libya, and also includes ironstones of Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian age. These sediments are on the northern margin of the Reguibat Shield which hosts the Archaean BIF deposits of Mauritania (see the Tiris record) some 600 km to the southwest. The Tindouf Basin, which contains a sequence of Cambo-Ordovician sandstones, overlain by Silurian to Carboniferous siltstone, shales, limestones and minor sandstones, occurs as a large WSW-ENE elongated synformal structure bounded to the north by the Anti-Atlas orogen. The Gara Djebilet and Mechri Abdelaziz deposits are located on the southern limb of this structure where it overlies the Reguibat Shield.

Minette type oolitic iron ore occurs within the Upper Djebilet Formation of Pragian (Lower Devonian) age. At Gara Djebile, three large lenses form three individual deposits, extending east-west for about 60 km, namely Gara West (14x4 km and 0 to 30 m thick), Gara Centre (20x5 km and 0 to 30 m thick) and Gara East (7x1 km and 0 to 9 m thick). The deposits are preserved as mesas of flat lying (1.5 to 2° north dipping) oolitic ironstone lenses interbedded with predominantly argillaceous and sandy sediments.

The oolitic mineralisation can be related to a barrier island palaeo-environment, where the oolitic sediments were trapped by Palaeozoic shoals, bordered by an inner lagoon or shallow embayment and an epicontinental sea. The oolitic sediments have a mineralogy characterised by magnetite, hematite, goethite, maghemite, chamosite (bavalite), siderite, apatite and quartz.

In the Gara Djebilet district, three paragenetic associations present a vertical distribution with a:
i). Lower non-magnetite ore (Fe=54.6%; 3 to 10 m thick), composed of 20 to 50 cm beds of tabular-planar and crossbedded quartz-rich hematitic chamosite - containing chamosite, siderite, hematite, goethite, apatite and quartz;
ii). Middle magnetite ore (Fe=57.8%; 6 to 10 m thick), which represents the main economic ore, is composed of tabular-planar and crossbedded magnetic-chamosite ore with 1 to 20 mm diameter sideritic inclusions - containing magnetite, maghemite, chamosite, siderite, hematite and apatite. It has a chemical composition averaging SiO2=4.9%, Al2O3=4.2%, Fe2O3=61.43%, FeO=19.2%, and P2O5=1.8%. and
iii). Upper non-magnetite ore (Fe=53%; 4 to 12 m thick), comprising 0.5 to 1 m thick parallel laminated beds of hematitic-chamositic ooids, with iron crusts at different levels, and containing ooids, siderite, apatite and pyrite - containing goethite, chamosite, hematite, siderite and apatite.

Three petrographical facies types have also been defined: i). a cemented facies (FOC), comprising cemented, jointed ooids and pore-filling structures; ii). a detrital facies (FOD) with scattered ooids in a quartz-rich groundmass; and a iii). non-detrital facies (FOND) occurring as scattered ooids in a quartz-poor groundmass.

At a 57% Fe cut-off the Gara Djebilet deposit has a quoted resource of 985 Mt @ 57.8% Fe, predominantly within the magnetite ore zone (Guerrak,1988).
Marelle (1970) quoted a resource at Gara Djebilet of 1.48 Gt @ 49 to 54% Fe, 4.9% SiO2, 0.8% P.

The Ministry of Energy and Mining of Algeria (2005) quotes a resource at Gara Djebilet of 750 Mt @ 58% Fe, and at Mechri Abdelaziz of 1.35 Gt @ 50% Fe. The ores contain 4 to 5% Al2O3, 0.8 % P and 0.03 % As.  


The Ouenza and Bou Khrada iron deposits are located in the Atlas Mountains of northeastern Algeria. They are approximately 30 km apart and 187 and 193 km respectively south of the port of Annaba. 

The oldest rocks in the region are Triassic limestones and marls with abundant gypsum and halite, outcropping over restricted areas of several kilometres in diameter, resulting from diapiric updoming. These are overlain and penetrate a Cretaceous sequence which continues through to the Middle Eocene, mainly composed of marls and limestones deformed by gentle folds. Lower Cretaceous Aptian limestones, which regionally host all of the iron mineralisation, are generally only exposed in the cores of domes. The Oligocen is represented by continental sediments, while the Miocene is marine. Igneous rocks are inconspicuous. Further to the north Tertiary granites and andesitic rocks of Miocene age are known. 

The Ouenza siderite deposit is located proximal to Triassic evaporitic diapirs. Iron mineralisation mainly occurs within Lower Cretaceous Aptian neritic limestones which host iron concentrations of 120 to 150 Mt of 53 to 60% Fe. The iron ore consists of iron carbonate replacement minerals which have been partially oxidised to hematite. Fine-grained ankerite and siderite replace limestones, whereas sparry ankerite and siderite were emplaced in veins. The main deposit at Ouenza is reported to be 2 km long and up to 500 m wide. The limestones are exposed in a series of antiformal hills separated by faults. 

The Ouenza Iron Ore Complex

These mines supply the local Algerain steel complex.   Resource figures quoted vary:

  Marelle, 1970 describes 130 Mt @ 40 to 56% Fe at Ouenza and Bou Kadra,

  Michalski of the USGS, 1996 report 35 Mt @ 53% Fe at Ouenza,

  The Ministry of Energy and Mines of Algeria (2005) estimates the potential of the Ouenza and 

    Boukhadra areas at 70 and 60 Mt respectively, with a further 12 Mt at Djebel Hanini-Setif,

    grading around 60% Fe. 
There are currently several gold deposits located mainly south of the country in the region of Hoggar.
  • The Tirek deposit located 400 km from Tamanrasset has geological reserves of about 730,000 tons with an average grade of 18 g / t.
  • The Amessmessa deposit located 460 km west of Tamanrasset: The geological reserves of about 3.38 million tons with an average grade of 18 g / t.
  • The deposit Tiririne - Hanane located 450 km east of Tamanrasset, geological reserves of about 481 100 tonnes with an average grade of 17 g / t.
  • In the deposit Abegui represented as a stockwork has reserves estimated at 2.807 million tons with a grade of 3.59 g / t.
The reserves are highlighted on the order of 100 tonnes.
As for the overall potential, it is estimated to exceed 200 tonnes.

Among the sites identified ornamental stones, we quote:
  • serpentine Oued Madakh (W. Oran)
  • travertine and limestone Hassi Ghala (W. Témouchent Ain)
  • limestone Ténès (W. Chlef)
  • black limestone Dhar El Mendjeli (W. Ain Temouchent)
  • limestone and flint nummulitic Jebel Dyr (W. Tébessa)
  • the black limestone of Jebel Def (W. Tébessa)
  • the desert rose and petrified wood.
These deposits are characterized by colors, uniform in shape and polished, their access is easy because they are close to the main towns and mining conditions are favorable for surface mining.

For precious and semi - precious, an inventory was conducted in the Hoggar between 1993 and 1996 by the ORGM.This work led to the discovery of sixty index consists of beryl, corundum, topaz, zircon, turquoise, piezo-quartz, kyanite, fluorspar, and ornamental stones (agate, chalcedony).

The potential zinc / lead is estimated at 150 million tonnes of ore and is located mainly in the north. Development prospects are mainly contained in the development of the deposit of zinc and lead Oued Amizour (11% Zn and 3.2% Pb with an average thickness of 49m).

The Oued Amizour district and Tala Hamza volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) Pb-Zn deposit is located on the north coast of Algeria, 15 km west of the coastal Mediterranean Sea city of Bejaia in north Africa, 180 km west of the capital, Algiers. 

The Tala Hamza deposit and related mineralisation is located within the Oued Amizour massif, a Miocene intrusive volcanic complex, within the Kabylian section of the Atlas mountain chain, which stretches along the Mediterranean Sea in NW Africa. 

The tectonic setting of Algeria can be divide into two distinct domains separated by the major South Atlas fault: (i) the Saharan Platform to the south, a relatively stable block of low tectonic activity that covers much of the country; and (ii) Northern Algeria, a generally ENE-trending, 350 km wide domain of Tertiary Alpine orogenic activity, that comprises the Atlas mountain chain resulting from the collision between the African and Eurasian plates from the Late Jurassic, and contains a thick (5000 to 10 000 m) succession of sedimentary rocks deposited in a subsiding Mesozoic basin on the northern margin of the African plate that underwent tectonic inversion from the late Eocene. 

The Atlas mountain chain may be further divided into: (i) the Saharan Atlas, a mountain range of Alpine origin to the south, immediately to the north of the South Atlas fault which separates it from the Saharan Platform; (ii) the broad high plains of the Oran Meseta to the west and Ain Regada to the east; and(iii) the Tellian Atlas to the north (which includes Kabylia), bordering the Mediterranean Sea reflect the final stages of collision between the African and Eurasian plates. This collision was influenced by the contemporaneous opening of the North Atlantic. 

The Oued Amizour massif and the Tala Hamza deposit are located within the Tellian Atlas, which comprises a complex area composed of a succession of north dipping thrusts and south trending nappes set in place during the Lower Miocene, continuous with the Rif in Morocco to the west. This zone of derformation represents the final pulse of convergence and tectonic deformation in the Western Mediterranean, accompanied by the reactivation of some localised subduction, and generated intracontinental tectonic events in the Pyrenees, the Iberian range and in the High Atlas. This final pulse followed a general distensional tectonic regime during the Oligoceneas a consequence both of the North Atlantic ocean opening to the west and of the collision of Africa and Eastern Europe to the east. 

While the basement to the Sahara Platform is Ebrnian to the SW, and Panafrican below much of the remainder, Northern Algeria, and the Tellian Atlas in particular is underlain by local gneisses and mica-schists, overlain by conglomerate and graptolitic (Silurian) shales/schists, Devonian shales and minor limestone reefs, local Carboniferous shales, Triassic red sandstones, evaporites and limestones/dolomites with basic volcanic intercalations in the upper part of the succession. The Jurassic is characterised by the Liassic transgressive marine sequence, comprising ~200 m of dolomitic and oolitic limestones overlying the Triassic evaporitic lagoonal sediments, succeeded by ~2000 m of Dogger shaley-carbonates and the Malm regressive phase with deltaic sediments to the south in the High Atlas and marine sequences in the north. 

Cretaceous sediments are found throughout the Saharan Atlas, occurring mostly as quartzose clastics, reaching a maximum thickness of 1200, in the Western Atlas. There are a number of transgressions and regression, with sections of the sequence being absent locally, and intercalated evaporites,reefal limestones, other carbonates and marls being intercalated through the stratigraphic column. 

The overlying Eocene formations are significant for their areal coverage and thickness of deposition. In the Tellian Atlas they are represented by clays, micro-fauna rich marls and carbonates, overlain by a thich sequence of Oligocene clastic rocks. These are suceeded in turn by a Lower Miocene marine transgression, represented by a thick blue marl facies (>1000 m) which passes laterally into marine shaly sandstones, ending with a regression in the Upper Miocene, followed by a further transgression resulting in the deposition of black or blue marls, sands and sandstones, limestones, diatomites and gypsum. Marine to lagoonal conditions continued into the Pliocene and Quaternary. 

Granitoid intrusions cut the sequence detailed above during three main period, namely 455±19 Ma, 278±3 to 273±Ma (Peucat, 1996), and during the Miocene (Kolli, 2005). 

The dominantly sedimentary geology outlined above is characteristic of Alpine Northern Algeria as a whole. The nappes and thrust terrane of the Tellian Atlas have introduced at least two and up to four para-allochthonous to allochthonous slices of Palaeozoic to Tertiary age rocks from further to the north and east with different geological characteristics (passive margin continental slope to deep ocean facies, which for example include Triassic rocks lacking the evaporites found in the autochthonous sequence), overlying autochthonous (shelf facies) rocks as young as Cretaceous and Paleocene, which were in turn thrust south over Mesozoic units (Saupe et al., 1995; Kolli, 2005). These slices are interpreted to have been deposited along the continental margin of a microplate in southern Europe, and tectonically transporteed to its present postion by progressive WSW movement to collide with, and overthrust onto the African plate during the Oligocene-Miocene to produce the Tell Atlas and Moroccan Rif (Petters, 1991). 

The main compressive phase occurred during the Lower Miocene. This was followed by an interval of extension during the Middle Miocene, accompanied by acidic, calc-alkaline volcanism and plutonism, as well as mafic magmatism. Five volcanic pulses are known in sections of Kabylia, incuding mafic events dated at 15.1±0.6 and 19.1±1 Ma. The associated Miocene granitoids cut all of the allochthonous slices and autochthonous basement (Saupe et al., 1995). The Tala Hamza deposit and related mineralisation of the Oued Amizour massif is associated with this Miocene magmatism. 

The Oued Amizour massif, within the Kabylia region of the Tellian Atlas contains a Miocene plutonic-volcanic complex which comprises granitoids, overlain by two or three volcanic and volcaniclastic series. The magmatic rocks belong to a potassic rich calc-alkaline series with ages that vary from 24.4 to 12.4 Ma. At Tala Hamza, the volcanics comprise a number of wide units of volcaniclastic and coherent rocks including breccias, lavas and sub-volcanic intrusives of andesitic and dacitic affinity. 

The mineralisation occurs as a thick (from 40 to 300 m) zone with an overall shallow southerly dip. It covers an area of almost 750 x 750 m and is disconformable with the host volcaniclastic series. It is associated with strong hydrothermal alteration characterised by kaolinitisation, silicification, chloritisation, sericitisation and carbonatisation. Several generations of faults bound and offset the mineralisation with at least one set having a spatial association with high lead mineralisation and controlling the overall geometry (Terramin website). 

The mineralisation has a number of features of low temperature, epithermal deposits including colloform textures in sphalerite and pyrite, Fe-poor honey-coloured sphalerite and low temperature potassic alteration (adularia). 

The mineralisation styles range from massive through semi-massive, stockwork, breccia and disseminated sulphides. The breccias are often associated with replacement and infill vuggy textures. The ore mineralogy is simple and consists of pyrite, sphalerite and galena. 

JORC reserves and resources are as follows (Terramin 2010), based on a 2.5% Zn eq. (Zn eq.% = Zn% + 0.591*%Pb) cut-off as at 19 Nov 2009, which formed the basis of the DFS. 

    Probable reserve - 38.1 Mt @ 4.78% Zn, 1.36% Pb, included within the following resource,
    Measured resource - 30.6 Mt @ 5.74% Zn 1.59% Pb, with a higher grade core of 11.02 Mt @ 10.89% Zn and 3.04% Pb,
    Indicated resource - 20.5 Mt @ 3.57% Zn 0.79% Pb,
    Measured + Indicated resource - 51.1 Mt @ 4.87% Zn 1.27% Pb,
    Inferred resource - 17.5 Mt @ 3.7% Zn 0.6% Pb,
    Total resource - 68.6 Mt @ 4.6% Zn 1.1% Pb 


Many barite outcrops exist in many parts of Algeria, especially in areas Atlases, many of which are developed and little production, providing about 40,000 t / year, mainly for drilling.

Bentonite is produced from several Tertiary volcanic basins in western countries in the region of Maghnia and Mostaganem, these deposits are located near ports and are all accessible by road or train. The country has significant potential to develop the industry of bentonite.

The potential of salt reserves in Algeria is huge and consists of:
  • Salt with reserves estimated at one billion tons.
  • Salt lagoon with reserves estimated at 1.5 million tonnes in annual inflows in the renewable chotts Southeast Algeria.
This potential can be put into operation.

Four deposits with economic potential have already been identified, including Tamazert, Sidi Ali Bounab, and Jebel Chekfa Debbagh. Production is limited, and use of this substance can be developed.
The reserves are estimated currently estimated at 2 billion tons, located in the basin of the phosphate Djebel Onk (Tebessa) and open-pit stripping ratio with a maximum of 1 / 4.
These reservations are not That a part of those that would conceal the phosphate basin.
Partnership opportunities are available.

There are large deposits of diatomite near Mohammadia and Mostaganem. They are operated at low capacity. Production can be developed.

The country has great resources in this substance.

The deposit of Ain Barbar (W. Annaba) with significant reserves (7,000,000 tonnes). The exploitation of this deposit is imminent.

Many indices are known in the north, often as a matrix in the deposits of metallic substances, but production was only sporadic.
In the Hoggar, mining research has highlighted two areas of particular interest:
  • Deposit Ait Oklan: located 150 km from Tamanrasset with 1,220,000 tonnes of ore at 30% or 226,500 tons of fluorspar reserves,
  • Index Dehin: Located also within 150 km from Tamanrasset with preliminary results of 2000 tons of fluorite.
This potential is estimated at approximately 123.6 tonnes of tungsten (metal) and 36.6 tons for tin (metal), is located in the Hoggar Mountains.

Great potential was located in the Hoggar Mountains
 RARE-EARTH (niobium, tantalum, Rubidium).
The potential is estimated at:
  • 13.76 tons of tantalum content of 0.02% in the ore
  • 4.12 tons of niobium content of 0.006%,
  • 133 tons of niobium content of 0.187.
The potential for ornamental stone granites are widespread in Algeria. Of colors, the possibilities to exploit this substance exist
The country has great potential suitable for gypsum building materials (gypsum), cement retardation, and application in agriculture. Large deposits exist Dahra (chellif region), Jebel Chegga, Mostaganem, Arzew, Sidi Bel Abbes, Habbush (mina mountains) and Babors.Existing information is very low, but gypsum is a mineral very common in the Mediterranean region.

Perlite is available in the volcanic and sedimentary rocks near Maghnia and can be exported from local ports. The deposits are located near roads and rails.

Indices of talc are located to the east of the country. The hypothetical reserves vary from 200,000 to 600,000 tons for each index.

  • Abu Dhabi state-owned conglomerate Moubadala Development Company and Dubai Aluminium (Dubal), will hold a majority stake of 70% and Sonatrach and Sonelgaz, two state-owned companies, 30%, in the biggest aluminium plant in North Africa. Under the terms of the contract, which has been concluded as a partnership agreement, the project will be developed near Beni Saf in the region of Ain Temouchent. The project should take about four years to complete, with the plant set to be operational by 2011. Plans also call for the construction of a thermal plant with a 2000MW capacity, a water desalination plant as well as a harbour capable of dealing with 1,75 million tonnes of raw materials per year.

Gold in Algeria

Gold Home

Birimian-age greenstone belts extend into southern Algeria, but some of the known gold occurrences are apparently associated with intrusive gabbros.
  • GMA Resources plc (LSE: GMA.L) owned a 52% controlling interest, through ENOR spa, in the Tirek Gold mine and exploration project which includes Amesmessa mine. Tirek has an estimated 512 000 t (152 000 t open-pit) at 21 g/t Au, the Tiririne-Harane project 481,000 t at a grade of 17.0 g/t Au. GMA Resources said on January 7, 2008, that it had begun leaching operations at its Amesmessa gold mine, and that first commercial production of the yellow metal was on track for the second quarter of 2008. [more] In 2012 GMA advised its Joint Venture partner Sonatrach that it wishes to withdraw from the joint venture due to falling gold grades and poor exploration results at the Amesmessa Gold Mine within the Tirek-Amesmessa Concession in south west Algeria, the operation is managed by ENOR Spa. The joint venture is GMA Resources only asset and currently GMA is actively looking for a new project.
  • ENOR is an Algerian company established under the Algerian law, which operates two gold mines (Tirek and Amesmessa). Their main shareholder is the Algerian oil company SONATRACH. ENOR’s mines are located at about 450 km south - west of Tamanrasset and has a mining license with a total area of 105 850 hectares. This permit covers a significant shear zone of several kilometer's length. It links the Archean basement to the Proterozoic formations. Discovered in 1975, the Amesmessa gold deposit is represented by of veins extending over approximately 12 km North-South. The main veins 8 and 9 of this deposit as well as other satellite veins have been mined in open pits since 2006, in partnership with a foreign partner. The Amesmessa mine is currently in production and approximately 3.7 tons of gold were produced by the Heap Leach. The Tirek mine, however, is not currently operating and is awaiting for studies to be completed The deposit will need underground operations and a new CIL plant.
  • Cancor Mines Inc's four Algerian properties are located in the Hoggar region, in the Sahara, 2,000 kms to the south of Algiers. They are located in a very favourable geological environment, similar to that of the Greenstone belt of Abitibi, and contain abundant gold mineralization at or near the surface, making it possible to consider extraction via open pit. The Kiouène gold field comprises 80 quartz veins, of which 25 are auriferous. The auriferous veins are made up of dark gray quartz containing pyrite, hematite, chalcopyrite, galena and native gold. The width of the auriferous veins varies between 0.1 and 0.5 m and their length is generally less than 200 meters. The grade is highly variable with a maximum reported value of 196.4 g/t Au..
  • Shaolin, a Chinese company, has two mining exploration contracts in Setif province, 350 km east of Algiers, and in the southern province of Tamanrasset, 2000 km from Algiers

Oil and Natural Gas

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Oil companies active in Algeria
According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Algeria contained an estimated 12.3 billion barrels of proven oil reserves as of January 2007, the third largest in Africa (behind Libya and Nigeria). Algeria’s proven reserves are primarily located in the eastern half of the country. The Hassi Messaoud basin contains 70 percent of the country’s total proven reserves, while additional reserves are located in Berkine basin. Although Algeria has produced oil since 1956, industry analysts consider the country under explored, with potential for future hydrocarbon discoveries.
Algeria produced an average of 1.37 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil in 2006. Together with 445,000 bbl/d of lease condensate and 310,000 bbl/d of natural gas liquids, Algeria averaged 2.13 million bbl/d of total oil production during 2006, up slightly from 2.09 million bbl/d in 2005 and 1.93 million bbl/d in 2004.
n March 2005, the Algerian parliament adopted the hydrocarbon reform bill. The bill encouraged international oil company (IOC) investment throughout the hydrocarbon industry, which state-owned Sonatrach previously dominated. However, 2006 amendments to the hydrocarbon bill created a windfall tax on IOC profits when oil prices top $30 per barrel. This tax reached up to 50 percent on some contracts, deflating some of the IOCs investment enthusiasm. In addition, the amendments gave Sonatrach the right to have a 51 percent or higher participation option on each newly discovered project. Aside from Sonatrach, the state regulatory agency, Alnaft, promotes oil exploration, signs upstream contracts, approves development plans, and collects royalties and taxes.

  • Oil production: 1.373 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
  • Oil exports: 1.127 million bbl/day (2004 est.)
  • Oil proved reserves: 11 billion bbl (2006 est.)
  • Natural gas production: 80.15 billion cu m (2004 est.)
  • Natural gas exports: 60.87 billion cu m (2004 est.)
  • Natural gas proved reserves: 4.545 trillion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
  • Sonatrach operates the largest oil field in Algeria, Hassi Messaoud. Located in the center of the country, Hassi Messaoud produced around 440,000 bbl/d of crude in 2006, and Sonatrach hopes to increase production at the field to 600,000 bbl/d over the next few years. Sonatrach also operates the Hassi R'Mel field (north of Hassi Messaoud, south of Algiers), which produces around 180,000 bbl/d of crude. Other major fields operated by Sonatrach include Tin Fouye Tabankort Ordo, Zarzaitine, Haoud Berkaoui/Ben Kahla, and Ait Kheir.
  • Foreign oil operators have steadily increased their share of Algeria's oil production. The largest foreign oil producer is Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, with total production capacity of 500,000 bbl/d. The company operates the Hassi Berkine South and Ourhound fields in eastern Algeria, with combined output of around 450,000 bbl/d. As of the fourth quarter 2006, Anadarko netted 62,000 bbl/d of oil from the fields based on its ownership percentage in the project. Anadarko is developing seven new oil and natural gas fields in Block 208 of the Berkine Basin; first production from the fields (EKT, El Merk, El Merk N, El Merk E, El Merk C, El Kheit, and El Tessekha) is possible by 2008, with output eventually reaching 150,000-200,000 bbl/d of crude oil and condensate.
  • Eni operates (among others) the Rhourde Oulad Djemma (ROD) project in south eastern Algeria, a series of six satellite fields that have production capacity of 80,000 bbl/d.
  • In 2005, Algeria held its sixth licensing round for foreign development of oil and natural gas reserves. A total of 54 companies showed interest in the ten blocks being offered. Companies that won exploration rights included BP (winning three concessions), BHP-Billiton (winning two concessions), Shell (winning two concessions), and the UAE-US joint venture Gulf Keystone Petroleum Ltd (winning two concessions). In mid-2007, the Algerian government wass expected to begin the country’s seventh licensing round.
  • The large phosphate deposits at Djebel Onk in the northeast have been mined since the early 1960s; phosphate rock output reached 1.3 million tons in 1988. The total was almost evenly divided between export (primarily to France and Spain) and local consumption or processing at the Annaba fertilizer plant, approximately 350 kilometers away. In 2008 Algeria  launched an ambitious programme to make the country one of the world's leading producers of phosphate. Under the scheme, Algeria's main iron ore and phosphate mining company, Ferphos, is to expand both its mining and processing capacities. The programme, backed by both the ministry of mining and the ministry of industry and investment promotion, aims to see Algeria become the third largest phosphate producer in the world by 2020, after the US and China. Officials project that by 2020, Algeria will be producing up to 30m tonnes of phosphate annually, bringing in export earnings of between $7 and $8bn a year. Algeria's phosphate reserves, currently estimated at some 2bn tonnes, are enough to keep the industry operating at its proposed capacity for more than 65 years. 
Known occurrences:
  • Abankor (Vein deposit)
  • Daira (Vein deposit)
  • Tahaggar (Sandstone basal channel deposit)
  • Timgaouine (Vein deposit)
  • Tinef (Vein deposit).
  • Landmark Minerals Inc is involved in a legal dispute with the government over validity of prospecting rights at Timgaouine and Asseo in southern Algeria.

  • Sociéte Algérienne du Zinc (State) operates the Ghazaouet zinc mine and refinery in the northwest of Algeria. It is producing 30,000 t per year.
  • Terramin Australia Ltd has a 65% interest in the Oued Amizour zinc project, in the north of Algeria, 270 km east of Algiers and 10 km south of the port city of Bejaia. The state corporation ENOF (Entreprise Nationale des Produits Miniers non ferreux et des Substances Utiles) is the joint venture partner. Initial drilling confirmed the potential of the Tala Hamza Zn-Pb depositTerramin reported high-grade zinc drilling assays from the Tala Hamza deposit in April, 2007. The Oued Amizour Zinc Project is 100% owned by the Algerian Company Western Mediterranean Zinc Spa (WMZ). Terramin has a 65% shareholding in WMZ, the remaining 35% is held by two Algerian government owned companies; ENOF and ORGM The project centres on the 68 million tonne Tala Hamza deposit and contains several lead-zinc prospects with the potential for more discoveries on the project area. The Oued Amizour permit area covers 125 square kilometres and includes a number of potential prospects for lead-zinc. The most important is the Tala Hamza deposit which is soon to be in development and is open down dip and laterally. Tala Hamza is a significant project with the potential to be one of the top ten zinc mines in the world based on annual production. Capital costs for the development will be low compared to other similar sized projects due to proximity of existing infrastructure 

Academic geological studies