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Coal in sub-Saharan-African countries undergoing desertification

January 1, 1990

Coal has been reported in 11 of the 16 sub-Saharan countries discussed in this appraisal: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. No coal occurrences have been reported in Gambia, Togo, Burkina, Chad, and Djibouti but coal may be present within these countries because neighboring countries do contain coal-bearing rocks. Most of these countries are undergoing desertification or will in the near future. Wood, directly or in the form of charcoal, constitutes two-thirds of the fuel used in Africa. Destruction of forest and shrub lands for fuel is occurring at an increasing rate because of desertification and increasing energy demands. The decline in biological productivity, coupled with concentration of population in areas where water is available and crops may be grown, leads to increasing shortages of wood for fuel. Part of the present and future energy needs of the sub-Saharan region could be met by use of indigenous coal and peat. Nine sedimentary basins, completely or partially within the sub-Saharan region, have the potential of either coal and/or peat deposits of economic value: 1- Senegal Basin, 2- Taoudeni Basin and Gao Trough, 3- Niger Basin, 4- Chad Basin, 5- Chari Basin, 6- Benue Trough (Depression), 7- Sudan Trough, 8- Plateau and Rift Belt, and 9- Somali Basin. Niger and Nigeria are the only countries in sub-Saharan Africa in which coal is presently being mined as a fuel source for powerplants and domestic use. Peat occurs in the deltas, lower river, and interdunal basin areas of Senegal, Mauritania, and Sudan. Peat can be used as an alternate fuel source and is currently being tested as a soil amendment in the agricultural sector. Coal and peat exploration and development studies are urgently required and should be initiated so the coal and peat utilization potential of each country can be determined. The overall objective of these studies is to establish, within the sub-Saharan region, energy independent countries using indigenous coal and peat resources. These resources have the potential to replace wood and wood charcoal as domestic fueld in the urban centers, as well as producing electrical and industrial energy, thus reducing expensive oil imports and decreasing the rate of deforestation. ?? 1991.

Publication Year 1990
Title Coal in sub-Saharan-African countries undergoing desertification
Authors J. N. Weaver, Michael E. Brownfield, M.J. Bergin
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of African Earth Sciences
Index ID 70015900
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse