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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook area reports: international 1968
Year 1968, Volume IV (1970)

Gealy, Edgar J.; Doughman, Agnes J.
Gabon,   pp. 267-271 ff. PDF (466.0 KB)

Page 267

  267The Mineral Industry of Gabon 
By Edgar J. Gealy' and Agnes J. Doughman2 
 The continued rise of Gabon's economy in 1968 was stimulated by further
expansion of all phases of petroleum activities including exploration, development,
crude production, and refining. Production of other mineral resources in
1968 was in aggregate, close to levels established in previous years; manganese
ore output exceeded 1967 levels while output of gold and uranium declined.
Virtually all of the minerals produced in Gabon were for the export market.
For some years, wood and wood products had been Gabon's largest single export
in terms of value, but in 1968 was exceeded by crude petroleum. All mineral
exports, including petroleum, probably accounted for about two-thirds of
the total value of Gabon exports with wood and wood products making up less
than onethird. 
 The impact of petroleum expansion on the domestic economy is clearly indicated
in the rise in per capita income from $220 in 1960 to $500 in 1968. An 8-percent
increase in the minimum wage to $0.19 per hour granted in June 1968 and the
rise in the cost of French goods, which made 
up about 60 percent of Gabon's imports, apparently were responsible in part
for increases in local prices during the latter part of 1968. 
 Construction of the Owendo deepwater port was inaugurated by the ceremonial
laying of a cornerstone in June 1968 although actual work was not to begin
until January 1969. Final completion is scheduled for 1971. The Owendo-Belinga
railroad, necessary to exploitation of the iron resources and the interior
forest, was still in the discussion and planning stage. 
 In March 1968, Chad and the Central African Republic announced their withdrawal
from the Central African Customs and Economic Union (UDEAC) leaving Gabon,
Cameroon, and Congo (Brazzaville) as the only remaining members. The Port
Gentil refinery in Gabon, while sponsored under UDEAC, had been established
by a protocol and thus was not affected by the withdrawal. 
 1 Assistant to the Chief, Division of International Activities. 
 2 Statistical assistant, Division of International Activities. 
 Gabonese mineral production, with the exception of gold and uranium, increased
in 1968. The largest increases were made by marketed natural gas (44 percent)
and crude petroleum (33 percent). Production 
at the petroleum refinery in 1968, the first full year of operation, was
10 times greater than in 1967. The value of total mineral production in 1968
was about $120 million, a 50-percent increase over the 1967 value. 

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