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Equatorial Guinea Invites Mining Firms to Explore Highly Prospective, Frontier Rio Muni Mainland

Boasting underexplored acreage with untapped critical mineral reserves, Equatorial Guinea has issued a call for mining-focused investments.

Equatorial Guinea – one of Africa’s leading oil and gas producers – has called on exploration firms to invest in its frontier mining market. The country boasts strong commercial potential for gold, diamonds, base metals, platinum group elements, iron ore and bauxite, and is actively seeking foreign investment to unlock the full potential of its mineral resources.

The country’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has been proactive in its approach to securing new mining investments. To improve the ease of doing business and promote transparency in the sector, the government has implemented a series of reforms, including providing a new delineation of mining regions to facilitate the signing of new contracts, as well as implementing protocols for the acquisition of artisanal mineral production.

“While Equatorial Guinea has traditionally focused on oil and gas, we are opening our mining sector up to private investment, implementing reforms, establishing protocols, creating an enabling environment and streamlining contracts to attract the necessary level of skills, technology and capital to develop the sector,” said Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Antonio Oburu Ondo, in a statement to Mining Indaba 2024 this week.

Equatorial Guinea’s Rio Muni mainland is considered to be a highly-prospective exploration frontier, with early geological surveys indicating strong commercial potential for several commodities, including energy transition minerals and metals. Yet the country remains unexplored and holds out the promise of new discoveries. As a result, key areas of investment include geological mapping and surveying, prospecting and exploration activities. 

Several companies have answered the call for investment. After opening its mining sector to private investment in 2019, Equatorial Guinea signed its first exploration contracts in 2020 with Manhattan Mining Investment Co., Blue Magnolia and Shefagold, along with two service contracts with subsidiaries of Russian geological exploration company Rosgeo, initiating the first phase of seismic acquisition and state geological mapping. Gabon’s national mining company SEM – a joint venture between Equatorial Guinea’s government and Moroccan mining company Managem – is also actively developing gold, iron ore and bauxite sites in-country.

“Equatorial Guinea is currently engaging in an open-door policy to promote its mining sector and enhance our interaction with the best companies in mining promotion and we will continue to do so in order to cover the U.S., Asia, Europe, Africa, etc.,” continued Minister Ondo.

Equatorial Guinea’s call for investment is supported by its reputation as a stable and attractive investment destination, after nearly three decades of producing oil with foreign partners like ExxonMobil, Kosmos Energy, Trident Energy and BHGE. As the country looks to diversify its extractive industry,mining has been identified as a priority sector, able to create jobs and transform artisanal, subsistence livelihoods into large-scale commercial operations. For international exploration and service companies, Equatorial Guinea offersfrontier opportunities in mineral prospecting and exploration, along with associated infrastructure development and technology and skills transfer.

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