The Gabonese Republic is the world's largest exporter of manganese. It is already the third?
GV Conveyor belt bringing up manganese ore and transferring it to bucket line (3 shots)
GV PAN Open-cast mine
GV Drag-line clearing coil (5 shots)
SV Dumper truck unloading manganese
SV Manganese slurry being cleaned (2 shots)
GV Clean manganese ore on conveyor belt
Initials BB/1840 NC/AW/BB/1850
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Background: The Gabonese Republic is the world's largest exporter of manganese. It is already the third largest producer in the western world and annual production is being further increased.
The rich ore comes from Moanda, near the border with the Congo. At the present rate of output the reserves will last for 150 years.
Exploration work began in the area in 1951 and two years later a company--Comilog--was founded to exploit the resource. Production began on a large scale in 1962.
By last year the company was extracting 2,100,000 tonnes (tons) of manganese ore from Moanda. This year the figure should rise to 2,400,000 tonnes.
After extraction the ore is taken to an industrial complex where it is cleaned. It provides 48 percent of pure metal which is transported by overhead bucket cable-way and railway to the port of Pointe Noire in the Congo.
Plans are afoot for the construction of a trans-Gabon railway which would take the ore to a new port for ore carriers at Santa Clara, north of Libreville, by 1979.
When this is built 5,000,000 tonnes of ore a year could be extracted. But there has been some controversy--between the Government and Comilog--over who should pay what proportion of the cost of the railway.