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The Ethiopian Government is getting out of the gold business as it plans to sell its last gold mine, Adola Gold Development Enterprise, this fiscal year.
The Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) also plans to put up the Ethiopian Mineral Development S.C. up for tender in a joint venture (JV) scheme.
Wendafrash Assefa, public relations head of PPESA, told Capital that the agency will put up the enterprises on a JV basis.
Adola Gold was the only public enterprise that explored and developed gold mines.
Located 500Km southeast of Addis Ababa at Oddo Shakisso Wereda, Oromia Regional state it mainly carries out exploration of placer gold from alluvial, and technogenic deposits.
Alluvial deposits are formed by sediment formed from flowing water. Technogenic deposits come from other soil and rocks removed to reach the targeted resource during mining activity.
Due to lack of finance the enterprise has not been exploring for primary and extra placer gold recently. To obtain more capital the agency plans to get involved in a JV investment. Established in 1942 Adola Gold is one of the oldest enterprises under the administration of the government.
In January 2000 the Ethiopian Mineral Development S.C. was restructured as a share company with a total paid up capital of over 128.5 million birr.
The company extracts and processes rare and metals and industrial minerals. It also provides lab and consultant services.
It mines Tantalum, at the Kenticha exploration and mining concession area, located in Adola 550Km south of Addis Ababa. This is exported internationally. It also produces industrial minerals via its Bomba Woha Ceramic Minerals Development Unit, 420Km south of Addis. These include Kaolin, k-feldspar, quartz, and dolomite.
These semi processed/milled materials are supplied to the domestic market and are used in chemicals, ceramics, paints, and soaps.
The area that is also developed by MIDROC Gold has an enormous gold deposit, according to several studies. Currently, several gold deposit sites have been under exploration.
The other mining enterprise, Ethiopian Mineral Development (EMDSC) was formed in 1996 and is also expected to be in the bidding process for JV. The company which is the predecessor to the Ethiopian Mineral Resources Development Corporation is known for its tantalum mining.
EMDSC also prospects and explores for precious metals (gold and platinum); rare metals (tantalum); and other industrial minerals.
Meanwhile, PPESA hopes to manage Caustic Soda Share Company on a JV basis with an interested private company. The enterprise located at Melkasa southeast of Addis is a state owned chemical enterprise.
Currently the JV bid processes space of Ghion Hotel Enterprise and Rubber Plantation Project (under project level) are already being put up for bid for a JV management.
There are 31 enterprises and projects under PPESA scheduled to be privatized or managed under JV since the start of the Growth and Transformation Plan.