Much of Mali remains unsurveyed in any detail. Besides gold, the country is known to contain deposits of bauxite, manganese, zinc, copper, and lithium. Uranium in the north is not thought to be commercially viable, and the same might be true of iron-ore deposits near the Senegalese border. Surveys for viable diamond sources are underway in western Mali. Mali Diamond Exploration, owned by Ashton Mining of Australia and Mink Mineral Resources of Canada, is under license to explore for, and extract, diamonds in 36,000 square kilometers (13,900 square miles) of territory. With the right investment code and inflows, the mining sector is likely to be a significant driving force of the country's economic growth in the medium and long term.
Sound economic policies and cautious monetary policy look likely to ensure Mali will make progress. However, it is difficult to see how an expansion of the mining sector can trickle down to make a marked improvement in the prospects for the 80 percent of the population engaged in agriculture and fishing.