Minister of Energy and Mining, Youcef Yousfi, said Sunday in Algiers that the field of research and prospecting witnessed important deficit, causing a substantial drop in the country’s reserves in terms of mining products, especially in El Ouenza iron mine. While answering questions of the Council of the Nation members on the mining bill, Yousfi underlined the absence of prospecting and exploration activities, stressing that the national instance in charge of this task "has not worked for ten years." He added that this situation resulted in the decline of the volume of national mining reserves and that the iron mine mines of El Ouenza (Tebessa) and the barytes mine (Tissemssilt) "are at risk of depletion if new explorations are not undertaken in the years to come." In view to address the lack recorded, the strategy of the mining sector revival stated in the bill, is based on reinforcing the infrastructure by reorganizing two mining agencies, setting up geologic maps, creating national geological and mining databases. The strategy is also based on the training and development of human resources, said Yousfi, before deploring "the abandonment by university students since the 70s, of specialties related to geology and mining." In order to consolidate the efforts of training and qualification, several specialized institutes and centers have been opened in the regions which contain mineral potential, said Yousfi, noting that Algeria had 3,000 mining engineers in the early 1970 but this number is in sharp decline.