Council of Ministers to endorse mining licenses
The Council of Ministers is scheduled to approve two mining licenses presented by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum today.
A senior official of the Ministry of Mines told The Reporter that the Ministry has presented a draft gold mining license to be granted to a Canadian company called Tigray Resources. Tigray Resources has been prospecting for gold and base metals in the Tigray Regional State. The company has requested the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum to be given a mining license that would enable it to extract gold and bronze in its license area.
After evaluating the proposal the Ministry has forwarded the draft mining license to the council of Ministers. Accordingly the Council of Ministers is scheduled to endorse the mining license today.
An indigenous mining company called AGODIO PLC, which has been prospecting for iron ore in the Amhara Regional State, has also requested for exploration license. After evaluating the proposal officials of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum has remanded the draft exploration license to the Council of Ministers for endorsement.
An official of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum told The Reporter that experts of the Ministry would appear before the Council of Ministers to answer questions that might be raised by the ministers about the proposed mining and exploration licenses. If approved Tigray Resources and AGODIO would sign the mining and exploration agreements with the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum next week.
Sources told The Reporter that about eight local and foreign companies would sign various mining and exploration agreements on Tuesday at the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. The mining projects are located in the Tigray, Amhara, Afar and Southern regional states.
The mining sector has been seriously affected by the political instability that rocked the country in the past four years. Growing contraband trade has significantly reduced the mineral export earnings. The annual mineral export earning has nosedived from USD 600 million to 130 million.
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 licenses 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.