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  • Ethiopia ponders $5b gold Posted on 20 October 2014

     

    Ethiopia ponders $5b gold

    ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia - Ethiopia could earn up to $5 billion a year from the mining sector and by tapping into geothermal energy sources, according to a new report published recently.

    According to the Ethiopian News Agency, Ethiopia’s mines minister Tolosa Shagi announced that the country had already secured “more than $2.3 billion from exports of gold, tantalum, opal, marble and other minerals” over the past four years. The returns are expected to double with more investment in the sector.

    Last year, with the assistance of the World Bank, the government commissioned a report titled, ‘Strategic assessment of the Ethiopian mineral sector’.

    The Geological Survey of Ethiopia and private companies say that the country “had a wide range” of possibilities for the exploitation of mineral deposits,.

    Shagi said exploratory activities conducted to date in “limited” parts of the country indicated that “Ethiopia is endowed with a favourable geological environment that hosts a wide range of mineral and geo-energy potential”.

    More than 130 companies are working in solid minerals operations and oil and gas activities in Ethiopia, Shagi said. 

    However, he said there was still a need to develop adequate transport and accountability systems to ensure that the development and management of resources is conducted “effectively”.

    Earlier this year a grant contract was signed to support the drilling of two wells in the first phase of a major geothermal power project in Ethiopia. The contract, worth up to $8 million, was signed by the African Union and the Icelandic-US private developer Reykjavik Geothermal Limited for drilling the wells at the Corbetti geothermal power project.

    In 2013, Norway agreed to provide Ethiopia with $13m, through the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund, to help the country’s carbon neutrality programme.

    International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde said that the “scaling up” of energy infrastructure investments in Ethiopia and other African nations were “critical for growth to be sustained”.

    The IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for Sub Saharan Africa, published in May said economic activity in the region continued to be underpinned by large investments in infrastructure, mining and maturing investments. 

    The report said weaker commodity prices and slower growth in emerging markets may reduce net inflows of foreign direct investment, but overall growth across sub-Saharan Africa “should remain in the top 30% in the world”.

    By John Sambo, Sunday, October 19th, 2014

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