· Formulates new policy to better outcomes
ADDIS ABABA- The Ministry of Mines said some 142.9 million USD was obtained from minerals export in the past six months of the current fiscal year and achieved 58 % of the plan.
The above was disclosed when the Ministry reviewed the implementation of the six-month performance of the 2023/24 fiscal year with relevant stakeholders yesterday.
Speaking at the occasion, Mines Minister Habtamu Tegegn (Eng.) stated that it was planned to earn 243.24 million USD from the export of minerals to foreign market in the reported period, and 142.9 million USD has been earned. The stated sum was obtained by supplying gold, tantalum, lithium ore, jewelry and industrial minerals to the foreign market.
The minister also stated that the nation has planned to secure about 512 million USD from minerals export in this fiscal year.
“There are 11 cement factories in operation in the current fiscal year,” he noted, adding that factories have the capacity to produce 14 million tons of cement per year.
According to Habtamu, the annual domestic demand for cement is 36 million tons. Some 51 million tons of cement was produced in six months of the fiscal year.
He further noted that consolidated efforts are underway to implement an effective mining policy with the support of the already- established national mining council in bid to tap Ethiopia’s immense mining sector potentials. “The existence of illegal actors in the mining market chain and corruption are the major setbacks that keep the sector unproductive.”
The national mining council was established to control these illegal actors and put accountability on those who violate the laws.
The ministry is also working to create the situation whereby the produced gold and other precious minerals are directly submitted to the central bank and passed through in a transparent way to generate a sizable foreign exchange from the sector.
“We will soon establish a mining police to curb the pressing problems that the mining sector has been facing. Since the sector requires capital, large scale investment and time, government’s closer follow-up and support to private capital is critical.”
Habtamu added, “Despite some challenges, five large-scale companies are on the way to engage in the Ethiopian mining sector and then we expect better results from the private sector’s involvement and will create a favorable environment to attract more businesses.”
Limited number of experienced and skilled experts in the mining sector and lack of coordination among concerned institutions as well as technological setbacks are also challenges that the ministry has been engaged to address.
Here, environmental health and public benefit should be considered in careful manner and it needs international experience and actors to manage and utilize in good manner, the minister remarked.
BY MISGANAW ASNAKE