The Ministry of Mines has announced it is removing government-set export and standard rates for gemstones in a bid to boost earnings and simplify supply chains. The export of gemstones such as opal, sapphire, and emerald have been a growing source of foreign currency in recent years, though they trail far behind gold. The export of gold brought in over 670 million dollars last year, while other minerals shipped abroad brought in less than five percent of the amount. Sapphire deposits were discovered in the Tigray Regional State in late 2016. Emerald can be found in various parts of the country, including the Guji Zone of Oromia Regional State. The export of the two precious stones brought in over seven million dollars in 2017. As with gold, artisanal miners extract the majority of gemstones in Ethiopia.
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