Investigations needed to stimulate the development of Jordan's mineral resources

Open-File Report 79-1569
Prepared under the auspices of the Government of Jordan and the International Cooperation Administration U.S. Department of State



The level of living that any society can attain is a direct function of the use it makes of all kinds of raw materials (soil, water, metals, nonmetals, etc.), all kinds of energy (both animate and inanimate), and all kinds of human ingenuity; and is an inverse function of the size of the population that must share the collective product. The relation between raw materials, energy and ingenuity is such that use of a large amount of one may offset the need for large amounts of others. The most vital raw materials are water, soil, and construction materials, for these are needed in large quantities and are hard to import. Metals, chemicals, and inanimate energy are necessary for industrialization. The more of these minerals a nation possess, the better, but not nation can hope to be self-sufficient in all of the m and therefore must trade for some essential materials.

Jordan’s natural resources have been little explored. The grantitc-metamorphic terrane in the southeastern part of the Kingdom could contain deposits of tungsten, rare earths, feldspar, mica, fluorite etc. and the sedimentary terrane over much of the rest of the county is favorable for the occurrence of oil. Even if none of these minerals is found, however, Jordan’s other mineral resource, if fully explored and developed in the light of modern technology, will support a far higher level of living than her people now enjoy. Very likely she can increase her rainfall by about 10 percent by cloud seeding, and she undeveloped supplies in both surface and ground water that are sufficient to nearly double her usable water supply. Even if she does not have oil or have it in large quantities, she can buy it cheaply from neighboring counties, and in addition has undeveloped sources of hydroelectric power, large reserves of bituminous limestone, large reserves of nuclear power as uranium in phosphate rock, and can use solar and wind power for special purposes. Her large supplies of construction, fertilizer, and other chemical raw materials will not only satisfy her own needs, but will yield both raw materials and some manufactured products for export. And she has valuable resource of touristic interest in the form of incomparable scenery, antiquities, and holy places, which, if properly advertised, could well become her largest single source of foreign currency. Revenues obtained from this source and from the export of agricultural products, nonmetallic minerals, and mineral products should support foreign oil purchase of oil, machinery, and other products not mined or produced internally.

Full development of Jordan’s economic potential will take years to achieve and involves many complex activities. One of the most essential is one that can be pressed in the early years, namely the gathering of facts and basic data concerning the character, extent, and distribution of her resources, and the uses that can be made of them. Without each fundamental data or the understanding of their meaning or the ways to use and apply them, costly developmental projects and similar efforts to raise the level of living are likely to have limited success at best.

Basic data and mineral resources are best gathered and published by permanent government agencies, for private organizations and individual cannot afford to take the risks involved in gathering data that may not have an immediate economic return; and even if private parties do collect such data they are not likely to make them general available.

Of the activities needed in the field of mineral resources, some are already underway as the established function of government agencies. No bureau however, seems to have responsibility for making geologic maps and for gathering data on such things as steam flow, composition and properties of minerals and rocks, or for investigating the uses to which Jordan’s minerals might be put. To satisfy these needs, a Geological Survey and a Bureau of Mineral Industries should be formed and placed in operation as quickly as possible.

The task of collecting and interpreting basic data or mineral resources must be done largely by Jordanians, for only in this way will Jordan acquire the technical competence needed to use the information. Few Jordanians have enough training or experience to work independently in these fields now, however, so help from outside technicians would be necessary over an initial training period of several years. But the number of outside technicians should never exceed the number of Jordanian technicians, and for this reason, neither organization could have a staff of more than a few people during the early years of operation.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Investigations needed to stimulate the development of Jordan's mineral resources
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 79-1569
DOI 10.3133/ofr791569
Year Published 1979
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description Report: iii, 164 p.; 1 Plate: 10.46 x 5.13 inches
Country Jordan
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