Zaire Table of Contents
Deposits of cassiterite, the chief source of tin, are found in a broad zone extending from northern Shaba Region through Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu to Haut-Zaïre Region. Associated with the cassiterite are commercially exploitable amounts of ores of tungsten, niobium, and tantalum. The Kivu Mining and Industrial Company (Société Minière et Industrielle du Kivu--Sominki) has responsibility for tin mining in Nord-Kivu and Sud-Kivu regions, and the Zaire Tin Company (Compagnie Zaïrétain--Zaïrétain) carries out open-pit operations in Shaba Region. In 1993 there were reports that Sominki had ceased production of tin ore.
Known deposits are large. In the mid-1940s, Zaire was the world's second largest producer after Bolivia, but thereafter production decreased steadily. Mining of cassiterite (and associated ores) continued to slacken through the early 1990s because of weak prices and expensive and time-consuming transport from the remote locations where it is mined. Production was estimated at 1,943 tons in 1988, dropping to 1,642 tons in 1989, and 1,600 tons in 1990.
Data as of December 1993