Gold may very well be Ethiopia’s most important natural resource. With the vast majority of the country’s gold resources unexplored, the country may have the largest potential for anyone interested in investing in gold mining.
Ethiopia’s Golden History
Gold mining in Ethiopia is quite ancient and date back to the time before Queen Sheba. The primary gold mined during the early years was mainly alluvial gold found along rivers. Gold mining was mostly done to supply the needs of the Ethiopian emperor.
With the change of power in the 1960s, mining was suppressed as political wrangles interfered with the day to day running of the country. However, starting in the 1990s, the government embarked on a program to transform the country’s mining sector by upgrading the infrastructure and formulating policies to encourage mining. For example, in 1993 and 1996 the government created and amended the mining proclamation and mining tax proclamation, which guides the mining sector in the country. Most of the modern day private gold miners in Ethiopia are the direct beneficiary of this legal system.
Gold Reserves in Ethiopia
A recent survey by the government estimates that with the right investments the country’s gold production could easily reach 30 tons per year which is close to what the top five gold producers in Africa produce.
Gold production in the country has been growing steadily over the years. For example, in 2004-2005 the total annual production was about 7,600 pounds, in 2005-2006 the figure rose to 8,500 pounds and by 2012-2013 the total annual production was over 12,000 pounds. If this trend continues, Ethiopia may eventually become a major contributor to the total output of Africa’s gold.
This growth in gold output can be attributed to the government’s efforts to encourage private investments in the country’s mining sector. A perfect example of government’s commitment to let the private sector run its mining industry is the resent privatization of the Legedembi Gold Mine and the issuing of gold exploration permits to private firms in the recent past.
If you would love to invest in gold mining in Africa, Ethiopia may be worthy of consideration. Although it is not yet among the top gold producers in Africa, the country is known to sit a huge gold belt that is yet to be explored.
However, the recent efforts by the government to transform the country’s mining sector points to a bright future for gold miners in the country. This can be seen in the number of private investors the government is willing to engage. In 2007, the government gave out 24 new concessions for companies to explore and mine various minerals including gold in the country. Today there are over 11 foreign companies in the country’s mining sector. With gold deposits found throughout the country, there is still need for more exploration and hence more investors in the sector.
Active Mines in Ethiopia
Today Ethiopia boosts of a number of modern gold mines that are responsible for the recent growth in gold production in the country. The largest gold mine in the country is Lega Dembi gold mine located in the southern parts of the country within the Sidamo province. Then mine is own jointly by Midroc and the government of Ethiopia.
Another important gold mine is the Tulu Kapi gold project that is owned by Nyota minerals limited. The mine is located in the western region of the country towards the border with Sudan. Gold production in these two mines is estimated to be about 5 tons annually, which currently make up the bulk of the gold being mined in Ethiopia.
Other places where you can find gold in Ethiopia include the Sakaro region, which has a long history of gold mining, with most of the mining done on small scale by individuals and some smaller private companies.
Gold can also be found in the Northern and the Western greenstone belts where you can find some of the finest gold mining reserves that are still relatively unworked to this day.
Also Read: Huge Gold Nuggets found Mining in Sudan
And: Recent Exploration and Mining for Gold in Kenya