Home | News    Tuesday 7 June 2011

Ethiopia, Sudan reach agreements to utilise border minerals

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

June 5, 2011 (ADDIS ABABA) – Sudanese delegation led by the minister of minerals, Abdul Bagi Al-Jailani, has reached an initial agreement with Ethiopia to joint exploration and development of the rich mineral resources available along their common border in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Tuesday.

Speaking at the occasion Sinkinesh Ejugu, Ethiopian minister of mines, said that peoples of the two countries take advantage of the mineral resources along the border with common agreements.

The Sudanese minister to his side explained the cooperation in the sector could contribute to the development and economy of the two countries.

The Sudanese minister noted that the mineral exploration activities should be executed in an environmentally friendly way.

The two sides will exchange geological and geophysical information and use modern technologies for joint mineral exploitation activities.

The Sudanese delegation also paid a visit to Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile River.

Ethiopia is endowed with rich mineral resources and offers excellent opportunities for mineral prospecting and development. However the agricultural land in densely populated areas of the highlands has deteriorated markedly over recent decades. Deforestation and soil erosion are most problematic in the marginal areas of subsistence agriculture.

Geological studies have identified a favourable geological environment hosting a wide variety of mineral resources.

According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ethiopia s green stone belts contain substantial gold deposits and more than 500 metric tons of gold deposits.

In addition to gold, there are large deposits of tantalum, platinum, nickel, potash and soda ash. Among construction and industrial minerals are marble, granite, limestone, clay, gypsum, gemstone, iron ore, coal, copper, silica, diatomite and others. The potential geothermal energy is also good.

Gold is Ethiopia’s main mineral export. It has lately become Ethiopia’s second largest export item, next to coffee.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade statistics, gold is generating considerable amount of foreign currency, constituting $179.2 million of the over $1.14 billion total export revenue the country got in the past six months.