Directorate General of Geology and Mines
Ministry of Energy and Mines
P.O. Box 745, Bujumbura
Phone: +257-22-2278
Fax: +257-22-9624                                         

Source: CIA Factbook



The regional geology of Burundi is dominated by Proterozoic low grade (meta-)sediments with isolated inliers of Archean crystalline basement, and is mostly made up of rocks belonging to the Mesoproterozoic Kibaran Belt, also termed the Burundian Supergroup, and of the Neoproterozoic Malagaarasian Supergroup which is equivalent to the Bukoban System in northwestern Tanzania. Tertiary and Quaternary sediments fill parts of the Western Rift at the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika.


In 2008 Burundi registered fairly modest production of niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, tungsten and kaolin. It is, nevertheless, the fourth largest producer of tin (1.1%), tungsten (1.1%) and coltan metals (8.3%) in Africa. It was ranked 15th in terms of gold production which fell by 10.5% in 2008 and has seen a steady decline since 2004. Tin and tantalum-niobium production increased 19% and 62.7% respectively but tungsten output declined by 24%. Burundi additionally possesses resources of nickel, uranium, rare earth oxides, peat, cobalt, copper, platinum and vanadium some of which are currently being explored.

Maps and images

Outlime of Geology and Mineralization
Small windows of probable Archean age rocks occur as igneous/metamorphic gneissic complexes and basement in the southwest. 
Largely underlain by rocks belonging to the 
Mesoproterozoic Burundian Supergroup (the Kibaran Belt). 
Neoproterozoic Malagarasian Supergroup (the Bukoban System of northwest Tanzania) 
Carbonatite intrusives occur at Matongo and Gakara. 
Tertiary and Quaternary sediments fill parts of the Western Rift at the northern tip of Lake Tanganyika.
Gold in the NE and the NW
Cassiterite and tungsten in the north and NE
Nickel and vanadium in mafic/ultramafic intrusives hosted in the “Bukoban” 
Phosphates and REEs in the carbonatites
Oil and gas in the Tertiary sediments of the Western Rift

In 2009 privately owned Comptoir Minier des Exploitations du Burundi S.A. (COMEBU) and artisanal miners produced Burundi’s gold, niobium, tantalum, tin, and tungsten. State-owned Office National de la Tourbe was the country’s only producer of peat.

Gold In Burundi

Proterozoic gold mineralization in NW Burundi

In Burundi two types of primary gold mineralization can be distinguished: sulfide vein assemblages with gold related to the post-Kibaran G4-granite magmatism (900–1000 Ma) and Pan-African ferruginous breccia zones with gold dated around 640 Ma. The post-Kibaran sulfide assemblages have a characteristic bismuth component and are accompanied by the early gangue assemblage of quartz-tourmaline-rutile-magnetite. The elevated Sn and W contents and the spatial and temporal relationships with highly fractionated granitic rocks point to a magmatic input into the Au-bearing hydrothermal system.
The Pan-African gold-bearing ferruginous breccia zones have relatively high Ba contents and are characterized by an early sulfide stage and subsequent extensive hydrothermal leaching and transformation into hematite/limonite in an oxidizing environment. The hematite/limonite assemblage is host to native gold mineralization with lenticular gold aggregates up to several millimeters in size. The breccia-style gold mineralization is thought to represent redistributed gold from the post-Kibaran sulfide stage, which was remobilized during the Pan-African structural reactivation

Artisanal gold mining near Buseruko
Source: Goldmines and baptism

Gold Home

Burundi Mining Corporation (State) holds the mining title to most of the country’s primary gold occurrences, which are concentrated in Muyinga Province in northeastern Burundi.

Unit of Measure
% Change
491.10 %
13.10 %
-76.77 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %

Source: USGS

Burundi has long been a gateway for smuggled gold from the eastern DRC and the annual gold export figure is sometimes ten times more than the actual production.
  • Burundi Mining Corporation has been working on a gold project at Muyinga. Buminco, a joint venture between the government and private entrepreneurs, planned to begin small-scale mining in the Muyinga region, where there are 2 t of contained gold proven reserves.
  • In October, 2011, Flemish Gold Corporation  held 4 prospecting licences over a total area of 4 298,67 square kilometers, including the area explored by Buminco. The company was expanding the gold resource at the Masaka 1 deposit where Buminco drilled 58 diamond drill holes in an open-ended deposit with  an indicated 738,360 t @ 2.2g/t  Au.  
  • International Gold Exploration AB (Swedish, and also active in Kenya, Angola)  explored the deposits in Mabayi-Butara, an area located in the north-western part of the country, about 75 km north of the capital city, Bujumbura. Artisanal mining produced 5 310 kg gold from 1933 to 1962. International Gold Exploration  suspended exploration at the Butara gold deposit and the Mukanda vanadium deposit at the beginning of 2009 because of the worldwide economic crisis. At the end of the second quarter 2009, IGE returned its licenses to the Government.
  • Gold has also been produced from alluvial gravels at Ruhembe..


The Musongati Ni laterite deposit overlies the 1275 Ma (1.275 billion year old) Mesoproterozoic Mukanda-Buhoro-Musongati layered igneous complex. This complex is one of a number of ultrabasic complexes that were emplaced en-echelon within a 350 km long by 20 to 40 km-wide northeast trending corridor that extends from Burundi into Tanzania. Three nickel laterite deposits are known in Burundi: Musongati, Nyabikere and Waga. Within this corridor is the Kabanga nickel sulphide deposit in Tanzania. Although disseminated, nickel and copper sulphides have been described from rocks underlying the Musongati laterite, the Ni and Cu metal concentrations, found to date, are not significant economically. The Musongati laterites are derived from the weathering of the ultrabasic complex, particularly, serpentinised dunite with a primary nickel content of about 0.3%. Two types of ore are present in approximately equal proportions: limonite and saprolite. Nickel in the limonite ore type is tied to goethite whereas in the saprolite ore type it is related to serpentine group minerals (chrysotile, antigorite) and clay minerals (pimelite and nontronite). The typical weathering profile consists of lateritic soil, canga or cuirasse (iron caprock), limonite zone (averaging 15 m thick), saprolite zone (averaging 12 m thick) and ultrabasic bedrock.
  • Argosy Minerals Inc (Australian, ) had title to the Musongati laterite Ni project situated in central Burundi, some 85 km east-southeast of Bujumbura. The indicated resource, based on previous exploration, is 28,659,000 t at grade of 1,62% Ni or 464,000 t nickel (0,8% Ni cut-off). The Musongati lateritic deposit was explored in the 1970’s and 1980’s, mostly under the auspices of the United Nations Development Program. A total of 237 diamond drill holes were completed at Musongati for 12,255 metres, with an average depth of 52 metres.  During the 1970’s to 1980’s drilling was conducted in three phases. The first phase of drilling investigated all three zones, with the focus on Rubara and Buhinda.  The second phase was devoted to Rubara and Buhinda only, while the third phase focused exclusively on Buhinda. Several metallurgical studies were also completed as well as logistical, transportation and energy studies. The Burundi Nickel Project, acquired in 1999 pursuant to a Mining Convention between the CorporationWs wholly subsidiary Andover Resources NL (]Andover^) and the government of Burundi, has been subject to force majeure due to political instability in Burundi.  In May 2005, the Corporation lifted force majeure and initiated discussions with the Ministry of Mines to secure a continuation of the Mining Convention.   After extensive, but futile, attempts by Andover to negotiate with the Government of Burundi to continue its work under the Mining Convention, and to obtain the necessary research permit from the Minister of Mines, in June 2007, Andover instructed its legal counsel to commence arbitral proceedings  against  the  Government  of  Burundi  at  the  International  Chamber  of Commerce in Paris.   Subsequent to December 31, 2008, the Corporation established that the Government of Burundi had awarded a license over Burundi Nickel Project to a third party.  In March 2009, Argosy decided to withdraw from arbitration after the Government reportedly awarded Musongati to a Chinese company. In December 2009, the licenses to Musongati, Nyabikere, and Waga were reportedly awarded to Samancor Chrome Ltd. of South Africa.
  • Dwyka Diamonds Ltd (Later Dwyka Resources Ltd and then  Nyota Minerals Limited )  (Australian) bought the Muremera nickel project in Burundi in an all-share transaction. The price tag on Muremera was a maximum $5m, with an upfront payment of $2m in Dwyka shares. The remaining $3m, also payable in shares is subject to project milestones. Dwyka subsequently announced that BHP Billiton will invest $5,2 million as exploration expenditure in the project, to earn up to 50% interest in Dwyka unit Danyland Ltd, which holds the exploration rights for nickel and associated minerals at Muremera. The Muremera target area is located within 2 km from the Xstrata/Barrick Kabanga Project in Tanzania, one of the largest known undeveloped nickel sulphide deposits in Africa. The second phase of the drilling at the Muremera Nickel Project in Burundi had started, the company said in January, 2008. Four drillholes had been completed on the Muremera B anomaly, which is considered prospective due to a superposition of both strong electromagnetic and magnetic anomalies. Up to 10,000 metres of drilling was expected in 2008. BHP Billiton withdrew from Muremera in March 2009. Nyota planned to spend a total of $2 million on exploration in 2010 and 2011

  • In October2009, the Government awarded exploration licenses for Blocks A, B, and C on Lake Tanganyika to Terra Seis International of Canada, Surestream Petroleum Ltd. of the United Kingdom, and South African Mineral Resources Corp. of South Africa, respectively. Surestream also held Block D.
Rare Earth Elements
  • Rainbow Rare Earths has secured $12 million in investment funding to begin mining rare earth minerals at the Gakara Rare Earth Project, in Burundi’s Bujumbura province. Considered the world’s richest rare earth deposit with a high in-situ grade of 54.3% (average) total rare earth oxide (TREO) containing familiar rare earth minerals such as bastnaesite and monazite, the Gakara Rare Earth Project will be developed for an ultimate targeted TREO production of 5 000 tpa with a long Life of Mine. The Gakara deposit was first discovered in 1936, and mined from 1948–1978, before a fall in global commodity prices, making production uneconomical. Rainbow Rare Earths was granted the Mining Licence for Gakara in February 2015, following the awarding of the Gakara Exploration Licence to the company in May 2011. First production and sales to Rainbow’s offtake partner, Thyssenkrup Raw Materials, is targeted by the end of 2017.

Tantalum and Niobium

YearProductionUnit of Measure% Change
200324.381Metric tonsNA
200423.356Metric tons-4.21 %
200542.591Metric tons82.36 %
200616.177Metric tons-62.02 %
200751.549Metric tons218.66 %
200883.853Metric tons62.67 %
200984Metric tons0.17 %
Source: USGS

Burundi Tin Mine Collapse Kills 6, Injures 3
By Linda Young
All Headline News (AHN)
24 September 2010
Bujumbura, Burundi - 
A pit mine collapse left six miners dead, three injured and four missing in Burundi.
The men were illegally mining cassiterite, a tin ore, at a pit mine in Kayanza province about 75 miles north of the capital.
All those killed, injured or missing were local villagers working the mine, authorities say. About 15 people were digging in the open pit mine when the walls collapsed. Recent heavy rains reportedly weakened the walls.
Cassiterite is a major ingredient in tin. The area also has colombo-tantalite ore, or coltan, used in the manufacturing of cell phones. Although Burundi has rich mineral deposits, there are few official mines. The miners were using hoes and plows.
Burundi is a very poor nation that only recently emerged from 12 years of civil war. According to the CIA World Factbook, about 93.6 percent of the people earn their living from agriculture and 68 percent of the population is below the poverty line.

    YearProductionUnit of Measure% Change
    20035Metric tonsNA
    20049Metric tons80.00 %
    20054Metric tons-55.56 %
    200646Metric tons1,050.00 %
    20072Metric tons-95.65 %
    200821Metric tons950.00 %
    200921Metric tons0.00 %


    YearProductionUnit of Measure% Change
    200313Metric tons, tungsten contentNA
    20048Metric tons, tungsten content-38.46 %
    200594Metric tons, tungsten content1,075.00 %
    2006238Metric tons, tungsten content153.19 %
    2007144Metric tons, tungsten content-39.50 %
    2008194Metric tons, tungsten content34.72 %
    2009190Metric tons, tungsten content-2.06 %
    • In July 2008, the Government awarded International Gold Exploration AB an exploration license for the Musigati area in northwest Burundi. The company suspended exploration at the beginning of 2009 because of the worldwide economic crisis and returned its license to the Government at the end of the second quarter of 2009. 

    Economic geology of nonmetal deposits

    Economic geology of ore deposits

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