Mining is the extraction of natural resources from the earth’s crust for economical use.
Types of minerals found in East Africa
- Metallic minerals: These include iron ore, gold cobalt, copper, tin, wolfram, tungsten, zinc, manganese e.t.c.
- Non-metallic minerals: These include; petroleum, phosphates, soda ash, sand, clay, Gypsum, mica, water, coal, e.t.c
Factors that have favoured mining in East Africa
- Presence of a variety of mineral deposits which are exploited for over 20 years e.g. limestone in Tororo and Hima in Kasese, Diamond in Mwadui plug at Shinyanga and Soda ash from Lake Magadi.
- Availability of adequate capital for investment in mining operations mainly provided by foreign investors e.g. Tullow oil.
- Presence of abundant skilled and unskilled labour force for working in the mineral processing firms.
- Presence of ready market which is both local and international e.g. Japan, China and USA.
- Availability of well developed transport facilities linking the mineral zones to processing plants e.g. railways, roads e.t.c.
- Supportive government policy to encourage mining operations e.g. through constructing transport and communication lines.
- Availability of cheap hydro electric power and other energy sources like solar energy which is used for running machines in the sector.
- Adequate supply of food from the neighboring communities to ensure continuity of the activity.
- Most minerals in East Africa are found near the surface hence making it easy and cheap to exploit.
- Improved political stability which has attracted foreign investors to invest in mining operations.