The Vancouver-based mineral exploration company, East Africa Metals, has asked the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas to be given large scale mining license that enables it to produce gold and silver minerals in the Tigrai Regional State.
East Africa Metals has submitted its application to the ministry requesting the mining license that would allow it to extract gold ore in the Terakimiti locality in the Tigrai Regional State. East Africa Metals owns 70 percent of the Harvest Tigrai Gold project located 600 km north of Addis Ababa, near Shire town.
The company has been engaged in gold exploration project in Terakimiti locality since 2011. The company has discovered a gold reserve amounting to 107,000 ounce. The silver deposit is estimated at 812,000 ounces. A statement issued by East Africa Metals on August 11 stated that the total amount of the mineral resource of the license area is estimated at 1.12 million tons — 75.3 percent gold and 39.7 percent silver.
The Harvest joint venture has already approved final documents. The company hopes that the proposal would be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas.
East Africa Metals proposed that the Terakimiti gold deposit would be processed as an open pit mining operation to produce gold and silver ore.
“The region has regular air service and very good, modern transportation and power infrastructure. The existing transportation and power infrastructure is located close to the project site enhances the development potential of the proposed operation. The proposed mining operation would utilize grid power for the project, for which the nearest high tension power line is approximately 7 km away. Primary road access to the site is by paved highway from the town of Shire, 40 km south of the project,” the company said.
A local company hired by East Africa Metals, Beles Engineering PLC, has already completed an independent environmental impact and socio-economic assessment (EISA) study for the project.
“The resource at Terakimti Project shares a similarity with other copper-gold projects in the region, such as the Bisha and Debarwa deposits, in that the initial mining opportunity was defined by the surface gold-oxide resource followed by mining of copper-gold-zinc sulphide resources,” East Africa Metals president and CEO Andrew Lee Smith said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas told The Reporter that the ministry is reviewing the application submitted by East Africa Metals. “There could be additional documents that we may require. When all the relevant documents are full filled the mining license would be drafted and sent to the Council of Ministers for endorsement,” the official said.
So far MIDROC Gold is the only company engaged in large scale gold mining activity project in Ethiopia. MIDROC Gold annually produces four tons of gold at its Legadembi Gold mine, in south Oromia. KEFI Minerals and Ezana Mining have been granted large scale gold mining licenses. Ethiopia annually earns more than 300 million dollars from gold export.