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Natural Resources in Mauritius

The volcanic islands of Mauritius are located about 800 km east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Mauritius consists of the main island of Mauritius, the much smaller island of Rodrigues and two smaller groups of islands and reefs to the north and northeast of the main island. All islands are of volcanic origin and are surrounded by coral reefs.
The mineral resource of Mauritius is negligible. The main minerals being quarried are basalts for construction purposes with smaller amounts of lime being produced from local coral limestone and coral sand .Potentially important are the polymetallic nodules that occur on the ocean floor at about 4,000 m depth around Mauritius. They contain more than 15% of both iron and manganese and more than 0.35% cobalt.
Only small phosphate (bird guano) resources from the islands of Cargados, Rodrigues and Agalega are reported from Mauritius. Other potential ‘agro minerals’ available in this island country are crushed basaltic rocks, calcareous coral sands, and raised coral reef deposits.
The forests of Mauritius are small in area but perform vital functions, the most important of them being soil and water conservation. Mauritius has no known oil, natural gas or coal reserves, and therefore depends on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. 
The south is mostly mountainous, rising to a maximum elevation in Piton de la Petite Rivière Noire (845 m/2771 ft). The main natural resource is the relatively fertile soil of the island. But since the land area is limited, this natural resource is under tremendous pressure due to increasing demand for development. 

In Mauritius, all naturally occurring freshwater comes from precipitation. Because of the island’s geomorphology, a high percentage of rainfall results in surface and groundwater run–off to the sea. The island has been divided into 25 main river basins and 22 minor river basins and the catchments areas vary from 3 to 164 km2. Only 2 rivers namely the Grand River North West and the Grand River South East have catchments areas exceeding 100 km. Mauritius has a dense network of rivers, most of which have their sources in the highly elevated regions.

Last Updated on: 20-04-2010

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