The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum this week granted eight minerals exploration licenses to seven mining companies.
The Ministry granted the exploration licenses to Sekota Mining PLC, Aiga Trading Industries, Agodayeo Metals and Other Minerals, Africa Mining and Energy, Altaw Resources Limited, Sun Pick Ethiopia and Himra Mining. The mining companies will undertake the mineral exploration projects in the Amhara, Afar and Tigray Regional States. According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the local and foreign mining companies would engage in the exploration of gold, iron ore and other metals, potash, coal and limestone minerals. The mining firms pledged to invest more than 88 million birr over a three year period.
The State Minister of Mines and Petroleum Assefa Kumssa on Wednesday signed the exploration agreements with executives of the mining companies. During the signing ceremony, Minister of Mines and Petroleum Samuel Urkato stated that 56 companies requested for mineral exploration licenses in various parts of the country. Samuel said seven of the companies fulfilled the requirements of the Ministry. Samuel noted that the mining companies should work on environmental protection and ensure the local communities benefit from the mining projects.
The Minister stressed the need to collaborate with the regional states. Regional mining bureau heads attended the signing ceremony. The regional mining bureau heads pledged to provide the required support to the mining companies.
State Minister Assefa Kumssa acknowledged the companies for deciding to work with the Ministry and invest in Ethiopia.
According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, the exploration licenses would be valid for three years with possible extension upon the requests of the companies. “At the end of the three year period, the exploration licenses could be renewed if the ministry accepts the proposal for renewal,” the Ministry said.
The Ministry disclosed that the seven mining firms have allocated 88.5 million birr aggregate capital for the exploration projects to be carried out in the next three years and would create 130 jobs
Samuel told The Reporter that the Ministry would sign more exploration agreements in the coming weeks. “The exploration projects would create jobs for citizens and we will earn investment capital,” Samuel said. The Minister called upon local investors to look for investment opportunities in the mining sector.
According to the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Ethiopia offers excellent opportunities for mineral prospecting and development. There is favorable geological environment hosting a wide variety of mineral resources. The Ministry claims that Ethiopia’s green stone belts offer one of the finest areas for gold mineralization anywhere in the world, and more than 500 metric tons of gold deposits have already been identified by exploration. Precious and metallic minerals such as tantalum, and platinum have been mined in small scale. There are more than 200 foreign and local licensed mining companies engaged in exploration and mining of minerals.
The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has drafted a national mining policy that would aimed at bolstering the local mining industry. The Ministry recently held consultative meetings with stakeholders on the draft mining policy. The Ministry believes that the national mining policy would enable it to boost the mining sector’s contribution for the overall economic development of the country.