The Ministry of Mines has revoked the licenses of 972 for alleged non-compliance with the terms of their exploration and production permits, and involvement in illicit trade. Among those on the receiving end of the measure is Kefi Gold, a firm that has been conducting gold exploration in the Western Wellega Zone of the Oromia Regional State for over a decade. The 2,000hct exploration area is estimated to hold deposits of close to 50,000Kg of gold. Last week, the National Bank of Ethiopia approved an increase in premiums paid to artisanal gold miners. Miners who supply over five kilogrammes of bullion will receive premiums of 35pc above the international market rate, a six percent growth. The move comes after recommendations from experts at the Ministry of Mines, who hope to see the improved premiums curb contraband trade and encourage small-scale miners to sell directly to one of the nine gold transaction centres run by the central bank. Close to 514 million dollars was generated from the export of gold over the first 11 months of the financial year, according to Takele Uma, minister of Mines.
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