Top 7 Natural Resources in Algeria

Algeria also known as The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria is a predominantly Muslim Northern African country along the Mediterranean. It had a population of 44.7 million people as of 2021.

Top 7 natural resources in Algeria
Source: GISGeogaphy

The natural resources in Algeria include iron ore, zinc, phosphates, crude oil, natural gas, uranium, zinc, lead, silicon, lithium, helium, water resources, marble, bentonite, copper, manganese, wolframite, barite, and numerous others.

Algeria’s natural resources have been a blessing and some say a curse. This is because of its corruption, and mismanagement of resources and funds.

Algeria is a developing nation and natural resources are free and have the potential for speedy national development if managed properly.

Top 7 Natural Resources in Algeria

The top 7 natural resources in Algeria are:

  • Crude Oil
  • Natural Gas
  • Phosphates
  • Diamond
  • Solar Energy
  • Iron Ore
  • Uranium

1. Crude Oil

Top 7 natural resources in Algeria
Source: Invest in Albania

Petroleum is the most abundant natural resource in Algeria.

Algeria’s proven crude oil reserves are estimated at 11.3 billion barrels. This is about 1% of the global proven crude oil reserves. Oil reserve is the amount of extractable oil.

The development and exploitation of this sector began in1958 after the discovery of two massive Algerian oil and gas fields in the Northern Sahara region- Hassi-Messaoud and Hassi R’Mel

Algeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

In 2019 alone, Algeria produced 19 percent of Africa’s petroleum making it Africa’s third producer of oil that year behind Nigeria and Angola.

In the same year, it was the world’s 11th largest oil exporter and globally ranked 16th both in oil reserves and oil production.

Sonatrach, which is ranked the twelfth largest oil company in the world, is the Algerian company responsible for the management of hydrocarbons. That is the extraction, processing, production, transport, marketing, and exportation of oil.

2. Natural Gas

Algeria’s proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 4.5 trillion cubic meters, equivalent to approximately 3% of the world’s proven natural gas reserves.

Algeria is the third largest supplier of natural gas to the European Union.

As of 2020, Algeria ranked as the 1st African gas producer. It produced over 50 percent of the total gas production in the continent.

In the same year, globally it ranked as the 10th largest gas producer in the world.

Recently, Europe’s gas supplies have been threatened by Russia. Therefore politicians have been compelled to take tours to find solutions. They have visited Algeria too; Africa’s largest gas producer and Europe’s 3rd largest gas producer (after Russia and Norway).

Currently, Algeria exports its gas to Spain and Italy through pipelines and tankers from two Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) factories.

This became a benefit for both parties: Algeria had an increased gas output after a period of stagnation since 1999, with a leap to more than 100 Bcm against 80 to 90 Bcm per year. And on the other hand, the importers got their gas.

3. Phosphates

In 2018, the World Atlas reported that Algeria had the third largest phosphates reserve estimated at 3.1 billion.

After deliberate attempts at developing the mining sector, in 2020, Algeria produced 410,000 metric tonnes of phosphates. This was a means to diversify the economy from the dominated oil and gas sector.

Four Algerian and Chinese firms signed a $ 7 billion JV deal for phosphate mining this year. The agreement was signed by two Algerian firms Asmidal and Manal and two Chinese firms Tian’An Chemical and Wuhuan Engineering.

Manal and Asmidal, is a subsidiary of Sonatrach Algerian energy group formed during the company’s reorganization, and Wuhuan Engineering and Tian’An Chemical, is a nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers production company.

The deal states that the project will involve the development and exploitation of phosphate in the Tebessa, Djebel Onk, and Bled El Hadba areas and the conversion of Algeria’s phosphates deposit into fertilizer. It will also include the construction of port facilities at the port of Annaba which will be used for the movement of products.

The deal will lead to the creation of a co-owned company, an Algerian-Chinese company, named Algerian Chinese Fertilizers Company (ACFC), for the project. The Algerian firms will own 56 percent of the newly-formed company while the Chinese companies will own the remaining 44 percent of the company.

The expectation of the project is a production capacity of 5.4 million tonnes of fertilizers per annum.

As to the economic benefit, during operation, the project is expected to create around 12 thousand construction jobs, 6 thousand direct jobs, and 24 thousand indirect jobs for Algeria.

Prior to this agreement, exactly three years before, Algeria’s oil group Sonatrach and Citic the Chinese state-owned conglomerate signed a $6 billion deal to mine the phosphate in Tebessa but it didn’t work through.

4. Diamond

In 1833, three diamonds were discovered near Constantine, Algeria. And for more than 50 years, exploration has been ongoing in Algeria.

Top 7 natural resources in Algeria
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About 1,500 diamonds have been obtained from the Algerian Sahara, Bilad al-mas, the “country of the diamond”.

Archives say that in the 19th century, among Arabs, the Algerian Sahara was known to have diamonds.

5. Solar Energy

Solar energy is not among the first few natural resources that come to mind when natural resources are mentioned. However, for the nation of Algeria, it is certainly one.

Because of its geographical placement, the highlands- plateau,s and the Sahara, Algeria is one of the most endowed countries with solar energy globally. Thus, it has a place among the largest solar deposits globally.

Nationally, the rate of delivery of insolation is usually between two thousand hours and three thousand nine hundred hours.

Among the European Union, Algeria is the fourth largest energy supplier.

Through the multi-annual l(2011-2030) renewable energy development program, Algeria has been leveraging renewable energy to:

  • Increase economic development.
  • Protect the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Preserve fossil resources.
  • Diversify electricity production sources.
  • Contribute to sustainable development.

These are to help both the energy and economic sectors. These are to be achieved through the development of large-scale photovoltaic energy and the development of solar thermal energy.

Algeria’s Ministry of Energy Transition and Renewable Energy seeks to develop energy efficiency by maximizing renewable energy sources and transitioning from other energy sources to renewable energy.

A project adopted by the government in February 2020, set a target of 15,000 megawatts by 2035.

From the total number of predicted megawatts, 1,000 megawatts of electricity is to be generated from renewable sources yearly. They hope to save energy by using the solar resources available.

6. Iron Ore

Iron is one of the most used metals on earth.

Its natural form of iron ore is in high demand due to population growth and infrastructural demand in developing countries.

According to the World Bureau of Metal Statistics, Algeria produced about 600,000 metric tonnes of iron in 2021.

Gâra Djebilet, Algeria, is an iron ore mine and one of the largest iron ore sources in the world. It was discovered in 1952. Its estimate is over 2 billion tonnes in reserves.

The Gara Djebilet mine, 170 kilometers southwest of Tindouf, stretches to an impressive mass of 131 kilometers square.

On 12 March 2017, the National Iron and Steel Company (Feraal) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese company Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering to carry out feasibility studies for the development of the resources.

7. Uranium

A lot of uranium exploration occurred in the 1970s. Uranium is used to make nuclear fuel, and nuclear power plants, and buy good submarines, naval ships, and other weapons.

As of 2019, Algeria’s uranium reserves were around 19,500 metric tonnes. An exploration program has been carried out to discover and develop other uranium reserves of several deposits in Algeria.

Along the southern border of the Hoggar (Southern Algeria) Precambrian shield, Lower Palaeozoic sediments lie unbalanced on weathered metamorphic rocks.

It was at one such area that the famous Tahaggart uranium ore deposit was discovered. The uranium ore that was discovered consists mainly of both torbernite and autunite.

The deposit is present in the weathered gneiss underneath the paleosurface. Mineralogical and geochemical studies have reported that the ore deposit that was discovered was formed during the period of weathering.

The uranium resources discovered in the Hoggar (southern Algeria) have integrated Hoggar into the national economy. This was only possible with the development of resources.

In fact, the entire mining sector of Algeria is undergoing a revolution and speedy progression towards a nationally profitable market economy through efficient and thorough management of natural resources.

The resources found in Hoggar were evaluated according to the specifications of the United Nations Framework Classification (UNFC).

Uranium deposits are recognized at the Hoggar (Timgaouine, etc.) where they are estimated at 26,000t. Huge reserves also exist in the Silurian in central Sahara where it is at 16,500t/km², a total of 9.5GTt.

List of all the Natural Resources in Algeria

The following are all the natural resources in Algeria

  • Gold
  • Uranium
  • Natural gas
  • Barium salt
  • Potassium hydroxide salt
  • Rock salt
  • Zinc
  • Lead
  • Marble
  • Beryllium
  • Coal
  • Helium
  • Lithium
  • Water resources
  • Bentonite
  • Barite
  • Water resources
  • Phosphates
  • Arsenic
  • Silicon
  • Copper
  • Petroleum
  • Thorium
  • Magnesium
  • Niobium
  • Tantalum

Conclusion

Algeria is a northern African country that has many natural resources capable of enriching an economy speedily. The top 7 among them are petroleum, phosphates, diamond, solar energy, iron ore, natural gas, and uranium.

Apart from these are many more- gold, water, silicon, lead, marble, barite, copper, uranium, and many others. However, despite the presence of these natural resources in Algeria, the country remains comparably underdeveloped.

Top 7 Natural Resources in Algeria – FAQs

What is the most abundant natural resource in Algeria?

Petroleum is the most abundant natural resource in Algeria. Algeria’s proven crude oil reserves are estimated at 11.3 billion barrels. This is about 1% of the global proven crude oil reserves. Among all the natural resources in Algeria, this sector is said to be the locomotive of the Algerian economy, whose contribution to the GDP of the Algerian economy has only increased annually.

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