New gold exports coming soon


New gold mining companies are expected to begin exporting this fiscal year. The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas (MMPNG) expects to double their exports from last year.
For the last two decades, since the government transferred the Lege Dembi Gold Mine to Midroc Gold at a cost of USD 172 million the company has been the nation’s only gold miner.
However, several local and international mining giants began exploring in Ethiopia recently. Kiros Alemayehu, public relations officer of MMPNG, told Capital that three, Ethiopian, medium scale, mining companies, Ezana Mining, which is under the Endowment Fund for Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT), Stella Trade and Industry PLC and Dawit Gold Mining Enterprise are expected to begin mining in two separate regions.
In April Ezana, which undertook the exploration around Shire Endaselassie in Tigrai, began trial tests, while the other company, Dawit Gold, is also exploring in the same region. Stella would be the first miner in the Gambella region.
In the budget year MMPNG plans to export 12 tons of gold. Of which the companies are expected to produce and export about one third of that figure and the balance will be covered by artisanal miners from five regions in the country.
The projection is almost double compared with the actual achievement in the 2016/17 fiscal year, when the country exported close to six tons of gold to the international market, while the major share, which is about 4,023 kilograms (4.023tons) was exported by Midroc Gold. This along with illegal smuggling has caused revenue to decline.
According to Kirso, to tackle the problem the government has established trading centers in five regions, Oromia, Tigrai, Benshangule Gumuz, SNNP and Gambella with the goal of collecting the precious mineral from artisans.
The market chain is very sophisticated and has to be more transparent, according to the public relations officer.
“We will undertake aggressive reforms to boost the revenue from the artisans,” Kiros added.
There are more than 1.5 million people engaging in artisan mining. During its heyday in 2011 and 2012 mining earned 618 million USD from mineral exports, 70 percent of which came from artisanal mining. Artisanal miners previously generated 400 million USD from exporting nine tons of gold annually.
In the budget year the ministry has targeted to earn USD 450 million from mineral exports, which was USD 231 million in the 2016/17 budget year. The ministry is also included other precious and semi precious minerals on its projection.
US based Newmont, is expected to produce gold at Tigrai, and UK miner Tefi plans to start mining as well.