Saudi billionaire
Mohammed al-Amoudi
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — 16 March 2012 – National Mining Corporation (NMC) “’ a closely held company owned by Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi “’ has found gold deposits in southern Ethiopia that may double the country’s national output to at least 10tpa.

“Exploration conducted over 15 years shows the Okote site in Ethiopia’s Oromia region has more than 550t of gold, of which 73t may be ready for extraction within 24 months,” said CEO Melaku Beza in an interview here with Bloomberg News. He added that the company planned to invest US$150 million in the initial phase of production.

“This area has huge potential,” he said. “The revenue will be about US$4 billion in 20 years’ time” from the 73t, and the government will receive US$1 billion from tax and royalty payments over that period.

Ethiopian gold exports surged 75% to 11t in the fiscal year to 7 July 2011, generating US$485.3 million. Earnings totalled US$258.8 million in the first half of the current fiscal year from US$179.2 million a year earlier, according to Trade Ministry data.

“I think mining development in Ethiopia will be the future hope of the country for foreign-currency income,” Melaku said. Last year, coffee shipments earned the country about one-third of its total foreign-exchange revenue of US$2.8 billion.

Surveys conducted by South Africa’s Venmyn Rand Limited have shown deposits of 113t of gold in the southern part of Okote, which is about 600km south of Addis Ababa, Melaku said. The area may contain more than 425t, he added.

The state owns 5% of all gold operations, levies an income tax of 35% and collects royalties of 8%, according to Melaku.

Source: Bloomberg News. For further details click here.