Gabon’s manganese production is expected to rebound to around three million tons next year as the country aims to expand its mining sector through the exploitation of gold, uranium, iron ore and manganese.

By the end of the year, the West African country’s manganese output is expected to decline to 2.2 million tons compared with 3.1 million tons in 2008, according to Reuters.

One of the factors for the decline was the shutdown of the Comilog manganese mining project for two months due to low demand from China and India.

Mines department director at the Ministry of Oil and Mines Jean Paulin Ekoua-Sima told Reuters that manganese was the only mineral being exploited at the moment but hopes that a gold mining operation will begin in the next two years.

“The mining sector accounts for less than 2% of GDP. The aim is to increase it to 10%. The time scale will depend on the investors and commodity prices,” Ekoua-Sima said.