Somalia - Mining
The Somali minerals sector, which was not a significant economic force before the 1991 overthrow of the government, failed to expand in the ensuing years of political and economic instability. In 2001, small quantities of gypsum, marine salt, and sepiolite (meerschaum) were exploited, and the country also presumably produced clays, sand and gravel, crushed and dimension stone, and limestone (for lime manufacture and/or agriculture). Officially reported mineral and trade data have been unavailable owing to lack of a central government from 1991 to 2000, and the secession of Somaliland and Puntland. The civil war forced the closure of Somalia's cement plant and oil refinery (a leading industry), and halted exploration for natural gas and other resources. There were unexploited deposits of anhydrite, bauxite, columbite, feldspar, natural gas, iron ore, kaolin, quartz, silica sand, tantalum, thorium, tin, and uranium, and recent discoveries of amethyst, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, opal, ruby, and sapphire. Mining of the gemstones, in Somaliland, has been limited by a lack of modern equipment, civil strife, and damage to the infrastructure; a EU-funded non-governmental organization was working with Somaliland's government to exploit gemstone resources. Tin was mined by the British before World War II, and charcoal was the fifth-leading export commodity. The outlook showed little change for the short run.