The entities and investors interested in mining of the mineral resources go through exploration and exploitation stages of the licensing process. In the Gambia so far the main potential mineral resources identified and that provide mining opportunities are the heavy mineral sands, quartz sands, laterite, clay and other sand varieties for construction The coastal areas (Batokunku, Sanyang and Kartong) of the Gambia are endowed with heavy mineral sand deposits containing valuable economic minerals (ilmenite, rutile and zircon). Other areas such as the coastline from Essau to Ginak kajata in the North Bank and other inland areas need detail exploration.
The Gambia is rich in quartz sand resources. They are distributed in 9 known localities and is estimated to be over 50 million tons of prospective reserves. Previous studies have evaluated the geological prospects of the quartz sands at Brufut, Fass, Abuko, Lamin, Darsilami and other places. The quartz sands have a high value of development and utilization. They can be used to produce special industrial glass as well as polished, high-quality plate and high-grade piezo-ductile glasses. The quartz by-products can be used in producing common plate glass, piezo-ductile glass, glass containing wires, and glass fibre.
The quarrying for construction aggregates for domestic consumption continuous to be a key to our economic development. The sector also known as development mineral sector is predominantly made of local low-tech, labour- intensive quarrying and mineral processing and mid- sized mechanized quarries. The sector involves extracting wide-range of commodities including construction sand and gravel or laterite. The extraction of these materials continues to make significant contributions to the economy and is the driving force behind the infrastructural development in the country. However, despite the significant progress made over the years, the sector faces many challenges which require national attention such as the search for alternatives to coastal sand dunes. The private sector is invited to promote the use of alternative materials and other sources of sand for construction such as dredging of river sand.
The Mines and Quarries Act requires dealers in restricted minerals including the precious metals (gold, diamond, silver etc) to acquire a Special Licence. The trade in these precious commodities is on the rise. Dealers are being urged to regularise their businesses by applying for the required licence to operate as a dealer.