ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has earned 513 million US Dollars from mineral export during the first ten months of the current 2020/21 fiscal year, the sector’s top official announced on Friday.
The amount has nearly doubled the total revenue the country earned in the entire previous 2019/20 fiscal year, which was 207 million US Dollars.
Speaking to reporters, Mines and Petroleum Minister Takele Uma described the performance as “remarkable” and attributed the feat to the Homegrown Economic Reform and government’s commitment to the sector.
Improving legal challenges, productivity, and increasing the price of gold for traditional miners were among the reforms the government recently took to boost the sector’s performance.
Out of the total revenue, he said 504.7 million US dollars was obtained from gold export. The country exported more than 6, 785 kilogram gold to the international market during the 10-month period.
In total, the revenue has shown a 11mln US dollar increase as compared to the target authorities set for the period – which was 501.73mln US dollars.
“Even with large scale global retraction in trade, mining was able to successfully grow exponentially in exports & revenue,” Takele said.
“We know that trend will be compounded as we reassess all active licenses in order to reach our full potential to unlock economic freedom,” he added.
Officials of the Minister also said the government will give more attention to petroleum exploration and luring giant companies to come and invest in the sector.
‘Warning issued, licenses revoked’
But they have become tough on mining firms that are not honoring their contracts and have taken strong measures against 48 mining firms who took exploration and production licenses but failed to act.
It has revoked exploration licenses of 19 companies, including 5 international companies, and issued final warnings to 12 others for not becoming operational as per the agreements.
These companies were among the 97 companies with exploration licenses in the country, according to the ministry.
Officials have also cancelled production licenses of 8 mining companies and cautioned 9 others for failing to act according to the agreements they signed with the ministry.
Mining firms that owned Tulu Kapi Gold and Kenticha Tantalum projects are among the companies on the receiving end of the warning.
Special consideration has been given for the companies to continue working under their contracts, the ministry said.
However, “administrative action will be taken if they do not act properly,” it added.
Nearly 70 mining firms with active production licenses are currently engaged in the sector