Adis Ababa, Ethiopia — MININGREVIEW.COM — 15 November 2010 – The government of Ethiopia’s is aiming to license 50 mineral exploration projects every year, and to more than double exports from the industry to over US$1 billion (R6.9 billion) over the next five years.
Revealing this here, mineral operations department head of the Mines Ministry Gebre Egziabher Mekonen revealed that investment in the mining industry had surged from less than US$100 million (R690 million) in 2003 to an accumulated US$1.3 billion (R9 billion).
“The sector has seen a dramatic change,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Seven years ago, the West didn’t know about our mineral resources.”
The Horn of Africa nation, which has deposits of gold, silver, copper, platinum, potash and tantalum, exported US$281 million (R1.9 billion) of gold in the fiscal year to July, according to Gebre.
Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Sheikh Mohammed al- Amoudi’s Midroc Gold Mine and Perth,
-based Nyota Minerals Limited both plan large-scale operations in the country,” he added.
“There are currently 80 international and local firms operating 160 projects in Ethiopia,” Gebre added.
“The industry is totally open to foreign investors,” Gebre emphasised. “There is no restriction to any investment.”
“Mining exports earn Ethiopia about US$400 million (R2.76 billion) annually,” Gebre said, making it the second-largest foreign-exchange earner after agricultural produce. “It is hoped this figure will rise to about US$1 billion (R6.9 billion) after five years, Gebre concluded.