Blessed with abundant resources and well-positioned to become an international energy hub, southern Africa’s mining industry is emerging from the shadows of the dominant regional mining player, South Africa. While some countries have long mining histories, such as Botswana, others like Mozambique are scrambling to address the most African of challenges: a lack of sufficient infrastructure to export these commodities and a skilled labor shortage that threatens the evolution of mining throughout the region. As governments and the private sector work together to find an adequate solution, companies continue avid exploration in one of the world’s last mining frontiers.
Thanks to their proximity to South Africa, one of the world’s premier mining destinations, southern African countries are able to draw upon the world-class expertise easily available. Botswana, recently rated the top mining destination in Africa according to the Fraser Institute rankings, is best known for diamonds but is quickly pursuing strategies to diversify into other minerals, such as coal and uranium. Namibia’s mining industry is forecast to expand more than 50% in value terms by 2015, and increases in production of base metals and uranium will contribute to further expansion. Mozambique’s mining sector is expected to experience phenomenal growth thanks to increased investment in coal production from international majors. Zambia’s copper belt will see five new mines come online in the next five years, whereas neighboring Zimbabwe has yet to convince investors, though even their wariness has started to wane.