Congo (Brazzaville)

Direction des Mines et de la Géologie
B. P. 2124, Brazzaville
Phone:  +242-831281      

 Fax: +242-836243  

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The contribution of mining to total exports in 2010 amounted to 39.1%

Congo (Brazzaville) Mining News

Source: CIA Factbook


The Republic of Congo is underlain in the northwest and southern parts by rocks of Archean to Neoproterozoic age, dominated by granitic/granitoid units hosting remnants of schist, greenstones and banded iron-formation. The eastern part is covered by Quaternary alluvial sediments of the Congo Basin. The coastal basin is made up of Cretaceous to Recent marine sediments that are fault – bounded to Precambrian rocks of the Proterozoic Mayombe Supergroup.
 Diamond, gold, base-metals and construction materials were produced in addition to hydrocarbons. Artisanal diamond production in 2008 was reported as 110,000 carats following Congo’s re-admittance as a participant in the Kimberley Process in November 2007. Undeveloped mineral resources include potash, lead, zinc, uranium, copper, phosphates, gold and magnesium.

Oil & Gas

In 2008 the Congo was ranked eighth among African producers of crude petroleum accounting for 2.6% of total output. Natural gas production (mostly LPG and propane) as a by-product of crude oil extraction reached 180 Mm3 in 2008. At the beginning of 2009 the Congo had proven reserves of 218.2 Mt of crude petroleum and 90.61 billion m3 of natural gas.
  • Sanu Resources Ltd (TSX VENTURE:SNU) announced that it has recently acquired a non-exclusive Prospecting License covering 3,595 sq km in the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). The Prospecting License may be converted to an exclusive Exploration License following submission of a prospecting report detailing the work done. The license lies on strike with the Mindouli-M'fouati copper/zinc/lead mining district and contains several prospects with outcropping mineralization.
    Mineralization in the Mindouli-M'fouati district consists of a cluster of high grade copper-zinc-lead bodies hosted in carbonate rocks. An example is Yanga-Koubanza with a reported historical (not NI 43-101 compliant) inferred resource of 5Mt at 1.95% Cu, 7% Zn, 6% Pb. The company believes that the area has significant potential for additional discoveries of high grade carbonate hosted mineralization. The project area has reasonable infrastructure near the Brazzaville-Pointe Noire railway.
    Exploration activities planned for early 2008 will consist of a regional soil sampling program over prospective stratigraphy followed by ground geophysics. The objective will be to generate drill targets for testing later in the year.


  • Mexivada Mining Corporation, through its wholly-owned subsidiary in the Republic of Congo, Compagnie Miniere du Chaillu, has been awarded four Phase 1 prospecting permits covering 9,156 square kilometres and four exclusive, provisional Phase 2 concessions ("Permis de Recherches") for diamonds, gold and connected substances within a 2,970 square kilometre area in the Chaillu Massif, centered on the Mayoko Greenstone Belt, a past producer of alluvial gold and gem diamonds.
    Diamonds are a high-priority target for Mexivada in the Chaillu Massif. Kimberlites and diamonds to 60+ carats in size are known to occur northwest of the Mexivada concessions in the Makongonio-Mbigou area of southern Gabon, in a part of the Chaillu Massif that also was mined by SOREDIA and now is being explored by De Beers, SouthernEra, and Motapa Diamonds.
    SOREDIA (Society for Diamond Research) prospected the Chaillu Massif in Gabon and ROC Congo after World War II and mined more than 13,100 carats of alluvial diamonds near Komono, on Mexivada's Nzambi diamond concession. A Russian group led by Dr. V.I. Elisseev in the late 1960's conducted diamond prospecting in the Chaillu Massif, and a brief, unsuccessful look for kimberlite pipes was made during part of a recent rainy season by SouthernEra Diamonds.

Gold in Congo (Brazzaville)

Gold Home

  • Société d'Explotation Minière Italienne S. A. (Italian) owns the Yangadou mine, 65 kilometers from Souanké, Sangha Department, which was planned to produce 1 500 kg of gold per year.
  • Mexivada Mining Corporation is exploring areas where alluvial gold was produced from four regions in the permit areas. The Mayoko target area yielded mine production of 1,047 kilograms (33,661 ounces) of gold produced between 1945 and 1962 by the Avoine Company. The largest gold nugget found in the operation was approximately 1 kilogram in weight, with others mined ranging in weight between 10 and 70 grams, according to Avoine's production superintendent, whom Mexivada's Richard Redfern interviewed in 1995. Such large nuggets could be indicative of a lode gold deposit at depth, such as occurred at Boddington, Australia. Alluvial chromite, which is a kimberlite indicator mineral, was mined by Avoine from a gold-bearing area at Malambani that is a high priority for Mexivada in its search for diamondiferous kimberlite pipes/dikes and lode gold. Artisanal mining of gold continues in the Mayoko area today, with upwards of 50 "orpailleurs" extracting alluvial gold from the area. Gold-bearing outcrops have been delineated by Mexivada along a 13 kilometre length of the belt, and mapping and sampling of unexplored areas continues by the company.
  • Exxaro Resources Ltd said in April it hoped to produce first iron ore production from its proposed 10mtpa mine at Mayoko-Moussandji in 2014. Exxaro Resources was waiting on the RoC government for granted of a mining convention (mining licence).
  • Equatorial Resources Ltd’s 100% owned Mayoko-Moussondji Iron Project (“Mayoko”) is located in the southwest region of the ROC and covers a total of 1,000km². The Project currently hosts a Hematite Resource of 102 million tonnes at 40.6% Fe as part of a total JORC mineral resource estimate (hematite and magnetite) of 767 million tonnes at 31.9% Fe. Equatorial’s metallurgical test work has demonstrated the hematite mineralisation is readily upgradable to a range of premium iron products grading above 63% Fe with low impurities. The project has access to an existing bulk haulage railway line that runs directly to the deep-water port of Pointe-Noire. Equatorial plans to commence initial operations at Mayoko-Moussondji using the existing railway line and port facilities that service the project. Initial production is targeted to increase in stages and the Company will seek to collaborate with other bulk commodity producers in the development of future large scale rail and port solutions. The total of 767 million tonnes at 31.9% Fe comprises an Indicated and Inferred Hematite Resource component of 102 million tonnes at 40.6% Fe (“Hematite Resource”) and an Indicated and Inferred Magnetite Resource component of 665 million tonnes of Fresh Magnetite Banded Iron Formation (“BIF”) at 30.6% Fe (“Magnetite Resource”). The mineral resource estimate has been prepared by independent consultants CSA Global Pty Ltd (“CSA”) and reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2004). The estimate is based on data from 43,743 metres of drilling from 383 drill holes. Drilling to date has extended over a strike length of 16km, which represents only 35% of the identified magnetic strike at the Project. Accordingly, the reported maiden MRE is considered an initial resource and potential exists to substantially increase the resource base with on-going drilling. In early 2011, Equatorial completed a detailed airborne geophysics program over Badondo that identified magnetic anomalies with a combined strike in excess of 22km prospective for iron mineralisation and resulted in the estimation of a global Exploration Target at Badondo of between 1.3 and 2.2 billion tonnes* of iron mineralisation at a grade of 30% to 65% Fe.
  • Core Mining's Avima project is situated in the North West of the Republic of Congo, in the Sangha region, close to both the Gabon border to the West and the Cameroon border to the North. Exploration is focused on Mount Avima, a mineralized ridge of approximately 35 km strike length and rising 200 to 900 m above sea level. The JORC Resource Update in April 2012 was 690Mt with an iron content of 58%; or 580Mt with an iron ore content of 60%. The current Mineral Resource Estimate covers a strike length of approximately 7.5km of the prospective iron ore deposit characterised as a magnetic anomaly and is semi-continuous for up to 18 km in the immediate Avima Ridge area. Additional exploration work will target the strike and dip extensions of the deposit along the entire potential 35 km strike length. Additional target mineralization is 395 to 540 million tonnes. Within the target area, approximately 200 - 240 million tonnes have been identified as high grade direct shipping ore with an Fe range of 55 to 62 % Fe.

Oil and Natural Gas

Proven reserves
Oil: 1 600mmbbls
Gas: 3.2Tcf

The key players are
Africa O&G
Highlights in 2014
• The Republic of Congo is one of the top five oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa.
• Its economy relies on its oil and natural gas exploration and production activities, most of which are conducted offshore.
• Oil makes up a major share of government revenues and exports. Congo exports nearly all of its crude oil, retaining very little for domestic consumption.
• The Congolese civil war that took place in the late 90s damaged the country’s infrastructure, thus hindering its ability to fully capitalise on its proven crude oil and natural gas reserves.
• The Government seeks to lift levels of oil production through new developments in order to offset the decreasing production from mature oil fields.
Recent developments
• Oil production has gradually decreased over the past few years because of oil fields reaching maturity. As a result, oil production is expected to continue declining over the next few years.
• A number of offshore discoveries in late 2013 and early 2014, together with changes to the regulatory framework and efforts by the Government to produce new oil from old fields, should create interest in developing oil fields and attract new entrants into the country.
• The Congolese Government is willing to invest in onshore and offshore fields. The national oil company aims to award additional onshore and offshore blocks in an effort to boost oil production.
• Production from the Lianzi deepwater field (jointly developed by Congo and Angola) is expected to start in 2015 and produce up to an estimated 46000boe/d at its peak according to the field operator, Chevron.
• SNPC, the national oil company, announced in April 2014 that it will use hydraulic fracturing technology on the Kundj and Mengo fields to extract new oil from old fields.
• Eni’s discovery of oil and hydrocarbons offshore at Nene Marine confirms the existence of significant hydrocarbons in the area. This offers potential to maintain and increase Congo’s oil production through projects in the Marine XII block and attract international interest in West Africa for further development of oil reserves in the area.

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With estimated proven reserves of 1.5 billion barrels, Congo is sub-Saharan Africa's fifth largest oil producer after Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. The majority of Congolese crude production is located offshore and is heavily reliant on foreign personnel and technology.
Congo's national oil company (NOC), the Société Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC), regulates upstream operations, while Hydro-Congo controls downstream operations. Congolese production sharing agreements (PSAs), which have been used primarily since 1994, are intended to insure a constant minimum flow of revenue to the government, commensurate with similar agreements between other regional oil exporting states and major oil companies. Under Congo's PSAs, foreign partners carry out exploration and development during an agreed period of time (usually three years for each phase), financing all investment costs and recovering investments when production begins. Because all major operators in Congo have signed PSAs for their respective field developments, approximately one-third of the oil produced goes directly to the government and is sold by SNPC on the state's behalf.
Congo's crude oil production has quadrupled over the past two decades, from 65,000 bbl/d in 1980 to an average of 280,000 bbl/d in 2000. Production has declined recently, largely due to lower production at mature fields and delays in bringing new fields online.
Oil is exported through Congo's main port, Pointe-Noire, which has little spare capacity and needs expansion. Although most of Congo's crude oil exports are destined for Western Europe (mainly France) and the United States, the country has sought to increase its sales to Asian markets.

  • Oil production: 267,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)
  • Oil proved reserves: 93.5 million bbl (1 January 2002)
  • Natural gas proved reserves: 90.61 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)
  • Through its local subsidiary, Elf-Congo, Total S.A. (France) is the leading oil producer and foreign investor in Congo, producing approximately two-thirds of all Congolese oil output. Total (51 percent interest) operates Congo's largest field, N'Kossa, located on the Haute Mer permit. Crude production in the Congo is expected to increase in 2008 by 90,000 barrels per day with the exploitation of the Moho-Bilondo Field. The exploitation of Moho-Bilondo by Total is expected to increase Congo's production from 240,000 barrels/day to 330,000 barrels
  • Agip (Italy), the second largest producer in Congo, produces approximately 25 percent of Congolese oil output. Agip operates the following fields (interest percent): Djambala (65 percent), Foukanda (100 percent), Kitina (55 percent), Loango (50 percent), Mwafi (100 percent), and Zatchi (65 percent).
  • Twenty two development wells are planned for the M'Boundi field, where a subsidiary of Maurel & Prom (France) discovered approximately 250 million barrels of new reserves in mid-2004. In March 2005, the subsidiary announced that the field's Well 1001 tested at an initial flow rate of 4,000 bbl/d of oil equivalent, while the nearby Well 1303 encountered an unproductive reservoir. As a result of new finds, Maurel and Prom's subsidiary hopes to increase production from 25,000 bbl/d in 2004 to 73,000 bbl/d by 2007.
  • A July 2004 release by Burren Energy (UK) also announced a discovery in the M'Boundi field, with a well testing at 1,540 bbl/d of oil. In January 2005, the company's M'Boundi Well MB 704 tested at an initial flow rate of 3,900 bbl/d. Burren produces 35,000 barrels per day of oil from its assets in Congo.
  • In January 2005, Heritage Oil (Canada) announced that its first commercial well in the Kouakouala field, Well KKL 401, tested at an initial flow rate of 1,600 bbl/d. Plans include connecting the well to the field's existing production facilities, as well as the 12,000-bbl/d export pipeline from the field to the Djeno Export Terminal. Kouakouala, which began production in May 2000, has seen its production decline from 1,100 bbl/d to 900 bbl/d at the three wells currently in operation.
  • Angola and the Republic of the Congo created the Zone d'Interet Commun (ZIC, Common Interest Zone) in March 2003. The ZIC joint development area, based in Brazzaville, includes portions of Block 14 (Angola), operated by ChevronTexaco (US), and the Haute Mer Block (Congo), operated by Total. Congo and Angola share revenues equally from exploration and production occurring in the ZIC. In December 2004, ChevronTexaco announced a "significant discovery" in the joint development zone, with the Lianzi-1 exploration well encountering two oil bearing reservoirs, one flowing at a rate of more than 5,000 bbl/d.
  • In January 2005, Canada's Gulf of Guinea Petroleum Corporation (GGPC) was awarded the tender as operator of the Marine XI oil concession, which holds several oil fields including Loubana, Mpouli, Koga, Ngongo, Viodo-Moedji, and Doukdaka South.
  • In March 2005, the Congolese government announced the signing of two offshore exploration and production agreements with Sinopec (China) for the Marine XII and High Sea C blocks.
  • Murphy Oil Corporation maintains an 85 percent interest in both Mer Profonde Sud (MPS) and Mer Profonde Nord (MPN) with SNPC holding the balance. Water depths on MPS and MPN range from 450 to 6,900 feet with total acreage of 1.8 million acres. MPS's Azurite Marine 1 exploration well encountered over 160 feet of net oil pay in January 2003, leading to predictions that the area could contain over 100 million barrels of oil. In March 2005, however, Murphy Oil announced that neither its Saphir Marine 1 nor its Onyx Marine 1 encountered significant hydrocarbons.
  • Tullow Oil holds an 11% interest in one onshore production licence which covers the M'Boundi field. Development work is continuing on the field, which has demonstrated continued growth in both reserves and production. An infill drilling programme is continuing and has been enhanced by the recent arrival of a fifth rig. By January 2007 there were 58 wells were on stream. Average gross production for 2006 was over 55,000 bopd.
Source: Tullow Oil

  • Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) and Total  announced in May 2013 the signing of a framework of Agreement whereby QPI will participate in Total E&P Congo through its subscription to a 15% share capital increase of this company. This participation reinforces Qatar’s commitment to invest in Africa and illustrates Congo’s willingness to welcome Qatar as a new partner. Furthermore, thanks to its subscription to the capital of Total E&P Congo, QPI will contribute to the company’s significant investment programme in Congo, specifically the Moho North project. His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of QPI, stated that this agreement is a further milestone in the implementation of QPI’s strategy to develop actively its presence abroad and especially in Africa. He also welcomed the opportunity to reinforce relationships between Qatar and Congo and support Total E&P Congo in its development programme Christophe de Margerie, Chairman and CEO of Total, expressed his satisfaction with this agreement which is a new step in the implementation of the MOU for a strategic cooperation in Africa entered between QPI and Total on 25 March 2010. It will further build-on the well-established partnership with QPI and will strengthen Total’s commitment to proceed with the development of the Congolese Petroleum Industry. H.E. Jean-Jacques Bouya, Minister to the Presidency in charge of development and infrastructures of the Republic of Congo, attending the Doha 13th Forum and mandated by H.E. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo, expressed his satisfaction with QPI’s partnering with Total in the Republic of Congo which will bring added value to the development of Congo’s petroleum resources. This new partnership is a clear milestone that will open a new era of cooperation between the Republic of Congo and the state of Qatar.

  • Cominco Resources  Hinda Project lies 37 km northeast of Point Noire in the Kouilou Province,. Existing road and rail infrastructure connect the project to the major seaport at Point Noire. The licences cover a large coastal basin containing the Holle Formation, riverine and marine sedimentary phosphate deposits. The phosphate deposits are thick, near surface, rippable and potentially minable at very low strip ratio using conventional open cut mining. Cominco’s current JORC Inferred Resource of 127Mt at 13.3% P2O5 will increase substantially when drilling completed in 2011, is included in the Resource Model.
  •  Elemental Minerals Ltds Sintoukola project is a shallow, high grade, low cost, near term sylvinite project currently in the pre-feasibility study phase with an updated resource estimate delivered in Q2 2012. It has an indicated resource of 362 million tonnes and an inferred resource of 442 million tonnes, both grading at 19.6% K2O. Within that mineral resource the company defined a high grade zone containing an indicated mineral resource of 151 million tonnes and an inferred mineral resource of 186 million tonnes, both grading at 25% K2O, which is approximately 40% KCl. (at a 15% K2O cut-off grade). The deposit lies within the Congo Basin located on the west African sea board and stretches from Gabon in the north through the Republic of Congo to Angola in the south. The Congo Basin was formed during the breakup of Gondwana Land which resulted in the separation of the African continent from that of south America. The Congo Basin formed during this process and was filled with approximately 900m of evaporitic sediments in a shallow marine environment. This sequence of evaporites contains both carnallite and sylvinite formations the latter of which is the target mineralisation for the project.  Exploration activities by a French exploration company (FRCP) in the 1960’s and 70’s identified several Sylvinite and Caranallite prospects which are contained within a 1,436 sq km exploration license held by Sintoukola Potash S.A. Sintoukola Potash is a ROC registered company whose major shareholder and operator is Elemental Minerals Limited with a shareholding of 93%, the remaining shareholders are Les Establissements Congolais MGM (5%) and Tanaka Resources (Proprietary) Ltd. (2%).

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Economic geology, geology of ore deposits