June 8 , 2019
By BERHANE HAILEMARIAM( FORTUNE STAFF WRITER )
The government issued three mining concessions last week, pushing the total licences it provided this fiscal year to 21, the largest number in the Ministry's history.
The three concessionaires will extract and explore gold, marble and copper in Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State with an investment valued at 29.3 million Br and potentially create 57 jobs.
Vintage Exploration & Mining secured extraction licenses, while YFY Mining and Shahi Dahi Mining acquired exploration licenses.
Samuel Urkato (PhD), minister of Mining & Petroleum, signed the agreement with Vintage's general manager, while Assefa Kumsa, the state minister for Mining & Petroleum inked the deal with the representative of YFY and Shahi Dahi Mining at the premises of the Ministry on Asmera Road.
Vintage, an Ethiopian company established five years ago, will extract gold via placer mining techniques for seven years in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, Metekel zone, in Dangur Wereda. Its exploration plans forecast the extraction of 278.4Kg of gold on 1.1 square kilometres of land.
The company will work with Russian experts and technologies for waste-free production, according to Adele Kassa, general manager of Vintage.
Local production of gold could rise to 30tn a year in the country, according to data from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia.
A two-decade-old Chinese company, YFY Mining, will explore marble at Kamesh Zone, Sedal Wereda, Tinga Kebele.
YFY Mining targets exporting the large quantity of marble to China when it starts extraction, according to Frank Yang, general manager of the company.
Marble is found scattered at different places in the country including Mora, Daletei, Baruda, Parzeite, Manden, and Bulene in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State; in Tigray regional state at Hulkani; and Mentawoha of the Amhara Regional State. Each regional state has over 100tn of marble resources.
In the country, three small local producers and eight large companies secured licenses for the production of marble.
Shahi Dahi Mining, an Ethiopian company, established a year ago, became the second concessionaire to explore copper. Shahi Dahi's site is in Metekel Zone at the three adjacent weredasof Mandura, Dangur and Bulen and Shai Dahi Kebele.
The two concessionaires will explore 240 square kilometres of land with a concession period of three years.
“These agreements indicate how the government has given more attention to mining compared to agriculture,” said Samuel.
In the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, the country generated 39.6 million dollars from mining exports against the government's estimate of 766.9 million dollars. The revenue was generated from the export of 646.3Kg of gold, 1,354.3 cubic metres of marble and 145.7tn of tantalum.
Melaku Tesfaye, a lecturer at Bahir Dar University and an expert in economics and trade, appreciated the increased frequency of concessions provided to miners.
“The sector should be exploited intensively using appropriate technology and skilled personnel to expedite the generation of hard currency in addition to acquiring knowledge transfers,” suggested Melaku.
Melaku also shares his reservations on the traditional way of developing minerals such as gold and gemstones as a means of providing employment opportunity to the youth.
"It may earn them subsistence income, but workers do not flourish in the sector, similar to what is happening in the agriculture sector," Melaku, said.
PUBLISHED ON Jun 08,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 997]
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