Extractive Industries

The oil and gas sectors have dominated Algeria’s natural resource industry. However, Algeria’s government is making renewed efforts to attract investment in the poorly developed mining sector. Hydrocarbons are the backbone of the economy, accounting for roughly 60% of budget revenues, 22% of GDP, and over 94% of export earnings. 

Algeria was an important supplier of crude oil, helium, and natural gas to the world in 2013. The country was the world’s third-ranked producer of helium after the United States and Canada and the fourth-ranked exporter of natural gas in terms of volume; source.

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas sectors have dominated Algeria’s natural resource industry. However, Algeria’s government is making renewed efforts to attract investment in the poorly developed mining sector. 

Oil and gas fields are located in anticlines, faulted anticlines or domes; the productive reservoirs are in Cambro-Ordovician, basal Triassic, Devonian and Carboniferous sandstones and the sealing beds comprise Triassic evaporite sequences and Carboniferous- Devonian shales. Major source rocks were organic-rich Silurian shales. Algeria was Africa’s leading producer of natural gas (41.5%) and was ranked sixth worldwide accounting for 2.86 per cent of total output. It is the fifth largest gas exporter (est. 59.67 billion m3 in 2008) and is ranked ninth in the world (2.5%) for proven reserves (est. 4.502 trillion m3 at the yearend 2008). Algeria is also the second largest producer of helium accounting for 11.6 per cent of world output. It has 21 per cent of the total world identified resources of helium. Algeria’s oil production in 2008 has decreased by only 0.6 per cent but the country had slipped in the rankings from second to the fourth largest producer in Africa (17.4%) and 15th in the world (2.2%). The country has proven crude petroleum reserves of 1.66 billion tonnes, equivalent to about 1 per cent of the world total.

petroleum geology of Angola



The Algerian Resource agency, Office National de la Recherche Géologique et Minière (ONRGM), has been made responsible for enhancing foreign investment in Algerian mining. To date, the agency has completed aeromagnetic, geophysical and (1:50,000 scale) aerial photographic coverage of the whole country. An estimated $1 billion has spent on exploration and development in Algeria over the last few years. In 2008 Algeria was the third largest producer of iron ore and the fourth largest pig iron and steel producer in Africa accounting for 3.24%, 5.58% and 3.74% per cent respectively of total output. Although no mined zinc output is recorded, Algeria is Africa’s fourth largest producer of slab zinc (8.94%).

Output of nonfuel minerals included iron and steel, small quantities of gold and silver, and a wide variety of industrial minerals that included barite, bentonite and other clays, cement, crushed stone, diatomite, dolomite, feldspar, gypsum, lime, limestone, marble, nitrogen, phosphate rock, pozzolan, quartzite, salt, sand and gravel, and sulfur. The country was responsible for 2% of world’s pumice (pozzolan) output and 1% of the world’s gypsum output. Algeria held other minable mineral resources that were not being produced in 2013, including diamond and other gemstones, fluorite, niobium, perlite, rubidium, shale gas, tantalum, tin, and uranium. Source

Currently all mining and exploration activities are controlled by the Holding of Public Mines which manages 32 mines, 26 quarries and 8 processing plants as well as several suppliers of goods and services to the mining industry. Algeria's major mining operations include the 3 million ounce Tirek Amesmessa gold mine; the 2400 million tonne Djebel Onk phosphate mine: the 5000 million tonne Quenza and Bou Khrada iron ore mines; plus several industrial mineral mines producing salt, bentonite and barite. There is limited diamond potential in the Reggane area, which has known alluvial deposits. De Beers have apparently expressed interest in the kimberlite potential of this region.