The World Bank wants to launch a $1 billion fund in July to map the mineral resources of Africa, using satellites and airborne surveys to fill geological gaps across the continent where a lack of adequate data hampers mining investments.
The World Bank has committed $200 million to the five-year fund, and was meeting with mining companies and governments from sub-Saharan Africa who have expressed interest, a senior bank official told Reuters on Wednesday.
I heard about this on the BBC last night. Some suggest such a map is more like 'teaching a man to fish" than "giving him a fish" and argue such a map empowers those who own the land to get the true value of it from foreign investors or buyers. Others feel it's just another way for other counties to exploit the continents underground wealth more easily.
My gut feeling is that the mining companies will support the effort as its in their best economic interest.
Image courtesy NASA.