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The Mineral Industry of Ethiopia in 2013 - USGS Mineral Resources


2013 Minerals Yearbook ETHIOPIA [ADVANCE RELEASE]

U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey

January 2016

The Mineral Industry of Ethiopia By Thomas R. Yager In 2013, Ethiopia played an important role in the world’s production of tantalum; the country’s share of global tantalum mine production amounted to about 1%. Other domestically important mining and mineral processing operations included cement, crushed stone, gemstones, and gold. Ethiopia was not a globally important consumer of minerals (Papp, 2015). Minerals in the National Economy In 2013, the construction sector accounted for 4.6% of the gross domestic product; manufacturing, 3.6%; and mining and quarrying, 1.2%. The value of output by the construction sector increased by 30.9% in 2013; manufacturing, by 10.8%; and mining and quarrying, by 6.8%. In fiscal year 2013 (July 8, 2012, to July 7, 2013), Ethiopia’s mineral exports were valued at $593 million, of which $584 million was gold. Minerals accounted for 19% of the value of total exports. Between 300,000 and 350,000 artisanal miners were employed in gold mining and about 50,000 were employed in gemstone mining (Araya, 2013; Beyene, 2013; African Development Bank Group, 2014; Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 2014, p. 22, 24, 43–44). Production In fiscal year 2013, the production of silica sand increased by an estimated 371% compared with that of fiscal year 2012; lime, by an estimated 120%; most gemstones, by between 50% and 57%; cement, by an estimated 43%; and most construction materials, by between 25% and 31%. The production of tantalum decreased by an estimated 89% in fiscal year 2013, and niobium, by an estimated 87% (table 1). Structure of the Mineral Industry At the end of 2013, Ethiopia had 19 cement plants, of which 17 were privately owned; Mugher Cement Enterprise and Messebo Building Materials Production plc were state owned. Companies that mined gold, marble, silica sand, and soda ash were privately owned. State-owned Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co. (EMDSC) produced dolomite, feldspar, columbite-tantalite, and quartz. Artisanal miners produced columbite-tantalite, gemstones, gold, and salt (table 2). Commodity Review Metals Gold.—In fiscal year 2013, artisanal miners produced 8,387 kilograms (kg) of gold compared with the Government’s target of 13,200 kg. Production in Oromia Regional State was 3,317 kg; Tigray Regional State, 2,299 kg; Benishangul-Gumuz

Regional State, 1,084 kg; Gambella Regional State, 1,040 kg; and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Regional State, 547 kg (Addis Fortune, 2013). Midroc Gold Mine plc (a subsidiary of Midroc Group of Saudi Arabia) operated the Lega Dembi Mine. In fiscal year 2013, exports by Midroc Gold Mine were 4,194 kg compared with the Government’s target of more than 5,400 kg. The Government planned to increase gold exports from large-scale mines to 8,700 kg in fiscal year 2015 (Addis Fortune, 2013; Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 2014, p. 29). In December 2012, Nyota Minerals Ltd. of Australia completed a feasibility study on a new mine at the Tulu Kapi project. Nyota planned to produce nearly 3,300 kilograms per year (kg/yr) of gold at Tulu Kapi during the estimated 10-year life of the mine. Reserves were estimated to be 16.9 million metric tons (Mt) at a grade of 1.82 grams per metric ton gold. In December 2013, Nyota sold a 75% interest in Tulu Kapi to Kefi Minerals plc of the United Kingdom. Kefi and Nyota were engaged in a revised mining plan that would result in production of about 2,600 kg/yr. Mining could start in 2015 (Mining Journal, 2012; Nyota Minerals Ltd., 2013). Stratex International plc of the United Kingdom engaged in drilling at the Black Rock prospect in Afar in 2013. In October, Alecto Minerals plc of the United Kingdom formed a joint venture with Centamin plc of the United Kingdom to explore at the Aysid-Metekel and the Wayu Boda projects (Stratex International plc, 2014, p. 11). Niobium (Columbium) and Tantalum.—In May 2012, EMDSC suspended production of columbite-tantalite at the Kenticha Mine because of Government plans to stop exporting unprocessed concentrates and to focus on building a new plant for downstream processing. The Government lifted the ban in 2013 (Araya, 2013). Elenilto Minerals & Mining plc of the United Kingdom held properties near the Kenticha tantalum mine with resources of more than 17,000 metric tons (t) of contained tantalum. The company planned to produce 600 metric tons per year (t/yr) of columbite-tantalite from a new mine. Elenilto also planned to process columbite-tantalite to niobium pentoxide and tantalum pentoxide starting in the fourth quarter of 2015 and tantalum metal powder starting in 2017 (Ryan’s Notes, 2013). Cooperatives of artisanal miners produced columbite-tantalite in Oromia Regional State. The mining operations were shut down by the Government’s ban on unprocessed columbitetantalite exports in May 2012. After the ban was lifted, artisanal miners exported nearly 33 t of columbite-tantalite in fiscal year 2013 (Addis Fortune, 2013; Araya, 2013). Industrial Minerals Cement.—Domestic cement production increased to an estimated 5 Mt in fiscal year 2013 from 3.5 Mt in fiscal year


2012 and a revised 2.08 Mt in fiscal year 2011. Increased production was attributable to the opening of new plants and the expansion of existing plants; demand increased with the rapid growth in the construction sector. Ethiopia had 19 operating cement plants with a total capacity of about 12.1 million metric tons per year (Mt/yr) at the end of 2013 compared with 18 plants with a total capacity of 11 Mt/yr at the end of 2012 and 15 plants with a total capacity of 7.9 Mt/yr at the end of 2011. In 2012, Derba Midroc Cement plc started production at two plants at Derba with capacities of 2.5 Mt/yr and 90,000 t/yr, respectively. Operations at Ture Dire Dawa Cement Factory Share Co.’s plant at Dire Dawa, which had a capacity of 550,000 t/yr, started in November 2012. National Cement Share Co. completed its new plant near Dire Dawa with a capacity of 1.1 Mt/yr in 2013 (International Cement Review, 2012a, b; 2013b; Edwards, 2013; National Cement Share Co., 2014). In 2013, Dangote Cement plc of Nigeria started construction on a new plant at Mugher. Dangote was likely to complete the planned 1.5-Mt/yr-capacity plant in the third quarter of 2014. Habesha Cement Share Co. also planned to complete a new plant with a capacity of 1.4 Mt/yr in 2014 (International Cement Review, 2013a). Gemstones.—Artisanal miners produced gemstones, including amethyst, aquamarine, emerald, garnet, opal, peridot, sapphire, and tourmaline. In fiscal year 2013, gemstone exports were 25,078 kg compared with the Government’s target of 18,000 kg. Opal accounted for 98% of gemstone exports by value. The Government’s target for fiscal year 2014 was 15,000 kg of exports, which included 250 kg of cut and polished gemstones. In August, the Government reversed its decision to ban rough gemstone exports at the start of fiscal year 2014; most exporters lacked gemstone cutting and polishing machinery (Addis Fortune, 2013; Araya, 2013). Lime.—In June 2013, Derba Lime and Chemicals (DLC) (a subsidiary of the Midroc Group) started production at its new lime plant near Derba, which had a capacity of 73,000 t/yr. DLC and Senkele Lime Factory produced lime for external customers, and Caustic Soda Share Co. and Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory produced mostly for their own consumption (Tiret Magazine, 2014). Potash.—In April 2013, Allana Resources Inc. of Canada completed a feasibility study with favorable results on a new mine at the Dallol potash deposits. Allana planned to produce 1 Mt/yr of potash at Dallol, which is located in the Dankali Depression, during the estimated 25-year life of the mine. The company planned to start mining in early 2016. Reserves at Dallol were estimated to be 94 Mt at a grade of 28.6% potassium chloride (KCl), and total measured and indicated resources were estimated to be 327 Mt at a grade of 28.6% KCl (Northern Miner, 2013). Silica.—Ethiopia Hansom International Glass plc resumed production at its glass plant in November 2012; operations had been suspended in April 2012. The company, which consumed domestically produced silica sand, planned to produce at about 50% of its capacity of 42,000 t/yr because of high fuel oil prices (Worku, 2012). Soda Ash.—Abijata-Shalla Soda Ash Share Co. [National Mining Corp. plc (NMiC), 62%, and Government, 38%] 18.2 [ADVANCE RELEASE]

produced about 5,000 t/yr of soda ash from Lake Abijata for domestic consumption. In November 2012, the company signed an agreement with China National Complete Plant Import Export Corp. to conduct a feasibility study on a new processing plant. The plant, which would use brine from nearby Lake Shala, was likely to have an initial capacity of 200,000 t/yr. In the second phase of the project, capacity would expand to 1 Mt/yr. Depending on the results of the study, the plant could open in 2017. NMiC and the Government also planned to rehabilitate the existing plant to continue production until the new plant opened (Tiret Magazine, 2012, 2013). Mineral Fuels Coal.—Delbi Coal Mining Share Co. operated a mine near Delbi that produced lignite; the company planned to produce 30,000 t in fiscal year 2014. In October 2013, Delbi Coal signed an agreement with May Flower Mining Enterprise Ltd. of India to increase the mine’s output to 200,000 t/yr. May Flower planned to invest $116 million during a 3-year period in return for a 70% interest in the mine (Ventures Africa, 2013). Petroleum.—As of the end of 2013, Ethiopia was not a producer of crude or refined petroleum and relied on imported petroleum products. In December, Africa Oil Corp. of Canada and Tullow Oil plc of the United Kingdom were drilling the Tutule-1 well at the South Omo Block near the border with Kenya and the El Kuran-3 well at Block 8 in the Ogaden Basin (Oil & Gas Journal, 2013). Outlook Cement production is likely to increase between 2014 and 2017 because of growth in the construction sector. The production of clay, gypsum, limestone, and pumice is expected to increase because of increased demand from cement plants; output of other construction materials is also likely to increase. The outlook for niobium and tantalum is for an increase in production in 2014 because of the repeal of the ban on unprocessed columbitetantalite exports. Lime output is expected to increase in 2014 and 2015 because of the opening of DLC’s new plant. Production of gold and soda ash are likely to increase starting in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Potash mining is likely to start in 2016. Coal production is also planned to increase in the next few years. References Cited Addis Fortune, 2013, Drab gold dims mining revenue: Addis Fortune [Addis Ababa, Ethiopia], July 14, p. 1. African Development Bank Group, 2014, Ethiopia, in African statistical yearbook 2014: Tunis, Tunisia, African Development Bank Group, p. 192–196. Araya, Elleni, 2013, Rough cut ban U-turn in bid to boost mining revenue: Addis Fortune [Addis Ababa, Ethiopia], August 4, p. 7. Beyene, T.M., 2013, ASGM formalization—Case study of Ethiopia: United Nations Environment Programme, September, 18 p. (Accessed January 6, 2016, at ETHIOPIA.pdf.) Edwards, Peter, 2013, Ethiopian cement focus: Global Cement Magazine, January, p. 49–51. International Cement Review, 2012a, Breaking ground on new plants: International Cement Review, July, p. 18–29. U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MINERALS YEARBOOK—2013

International Cement Review, 2012b, Ethiopia—Future cement strategy: International Cement Review, May, p. 138–142. International Cement Review, 2013a, Groundbreaking plant news: International Cement Review, July, p. 20–34. International Cement Review, 2013b, Welcome to the new builds: International Cement Review, May, p. 22–31. Mining Journal, 2012, Study finds 105,000 oz/y of gold at Tulu Kapi: Mining Journal, December 14, p. 9. Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 2014, Annual progress report for F.Y. 2012/13—Growth and transformation plan: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, 108 p. National Cement Share Co., 2014, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister visits National Cement plant: National Cement Share Co., April 7. (Accessed January 23, 2015, at Northern Miner, 2013, Allana closes in on Ethiopian potash development: Northern Miner, v. 99, no. 13, May 13–19, p. 16. Nyota Minerals Ltd., 2013, Sale of majority share in subsidiary: West Perth, Western Australia, Australia, Nyota Minerals Ltd. press release, December 11, 5 p. Oil & Gas Journal, 2013, Tullow, Africa Oil drill fifth Kenya oil discovery: Oil & Gas Journal, v. 111, no. 12, December 2, p. 12.

Papp, J.F., 2015, Tantalum: U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries 2015, p. 160–161. (Accessed June 1, 2015, at pubs/commodity/niobium/mcs-2015-tanta.pdf.) Ryan’s Notes, 2013, Slow Ta market looks for intrigue: Ryan’s Notes, v. 19, no. 10, March 11, p. 1. Stratex International plc, 2014, Annual report 2013: London, United Kingdom, Stratex International plc, 56 p. Tiret Magazine, 2012, MIC ventures with Government on Abijata-Shalla Soda Ash S.C.: Tiret Magazine, October, p. 32. Tiret Magazine, 2013, Abijata-Shalla Soda Ash and Chinese COMPLANT sign MOU for feasibility: Tiret Magazine, September, p. 43. Tiret Magazine, 2014, Derba joins lime production business: Tiret Magazine, March, p. 41. Ventures Africa, 2013, Indian company to invest $116m in Ethiopia’s Delbi coal mine: Ventures Africa, October 29. (Accessed March 19, 2014, at Worku, Leluseged, 2012, Ethiopia—Hansom Int’l Glass plc resumes operation: Ethiopian Press Agency, September 18. (Accessed August 8, 2013, at

TABLE 1 ETHIOPIA: PRODUCTION OF MINERAL COMMODITIES1, 2 (Metric tons unless otherwise specified) Commodity3 Cement, hydraulic Clays:5 Brick claye Kaolin, China clay Other clay Coal, lignite Columbite-tantalite, ore and concentrate: Gross weight Nb content Ta content Diatomitee Feldspar Gemstones: Amethyst Aquamarine Citrine Emerald Garnet Morganite Opal Peridot Quartz Ruby Sapphire Tourmaline Gold, mine output, Au content Gypsum and anhydrite, crude Lime Platinum, mine output, Pt content Quartz Salt, rock Silver, mine output, Ag content See footnotes at end of table.

2009 1,688,014

cubic meters

kilograms do. do.

kilograms do. do. do. do. do. do. do. do. do. do. do. do.



39,000 3,534 300,000 15,000 397,544 27,800 98,500 4,104 750 6 10 5 7 4 1 651 4 7 19 -1 4,005 37,000 3,829 10 200 350,709 771



2010 1,638,613

2011e 2,082,366

53,000 3,600 12,398 20,000

55,000 4,000 40,958 20,000

252,433 21,600 81,600 4,000 1,500

285,000 24,500 94,500 4,000 441

7 105 1 10 24 4 12,821 -2,853 26 1 2 6,773 41,000 3,254 8 280 330,359 1,100

-667 3 15 29 1 13,839 7 1,492 56 45 103 10,891 46,000 2,481 -363 388,153 1,700


r, 4

r 4 4


4 4 4

4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4

r, 4 4 4 4

2012e 3,500,000 68,000 4,500 46,000 20,000 380,000 26,000 91,000 4,500 500 -700 3 15 30 1 14,000 10 1,500 55 45 110 12,311 52,000 2,500 -410 440,000 1,900

2013e 5,000,000 r r

r r



89,000 4,800 49,000 20,000 50,000 3,500 9,800 4,800 530 -1,100 5 23 45 2 21,000 15 2,300 85 70 170 12,581 52,000 5,500 -440 470,000 2,000



TABLE 1—Continued ETHIOPIA: PRODUCTION OF MINERAL COMMODITIES1, 2 (Metric tons unless otherwise specified) Commodity3 Soda ash, natural Steel: Crudee Semimanufactured6 Stone, sand and gravel:5 Basalt: Construction stone Othere Dolomite

2009 4,046

2010 4,000

2011e 4,500

150,000 785,925

150,000 464,304

130,000 500,000

130,000 500,000

1,300,000 77,000 2,600 5,100 390,000

1,400,000 85,000 2,900 5,700 430,000

1,600,000 96,000 3,190 6,400 490,000

2,000,000 120,000 4,000 8,000 610,000




2012e 5,000


2013e 5,000 130,000 500,000

r r r

2,600,000 160,000 5,200 10,000 800,000

r square meters Granitee r e cubic meters Ignimbrite Limestone: 3,700 4,600 r 6,000 Slab and tiles square meters 2,973 3,300 e e thousand metric tons 2,100 2,300 2,600 3,200 r 4,200 Other Marble: 180,000 r 240,000 Slab and tiles square meters 114,374 152,421 143,820 r, 4 e do. 150,000 170,000 190,000 240,000 r 310,000 Terrazzo Block and other 145,000 250,000 280,000 350,000 r 450,000 420,000 Pumice 250,000 128,106 254,152 4 320,000 r 29,000 32,000 36,000 45,000 r 59,000 Rhyolitee thousand metric tons 860 950 1,100 1,400 r 1,800 Sande do. 1,800 2,000 2,300 2,900 r 3,800 Sandstonee 180,000 200,000 230,000 290,000 r 380,000 Scoriae Silica sand 30,700 70,250 7,000 7,000 33,000 e Estimated; estimated data are rounded to no more than three significant digits. rRevised. do. Ditto. -- Zero. 1 Table includes data available through January 23, 2015. 2 Data are for the Ethiopian fiscal year ending July 7 of the year listed, except for steel, which are for the calendar year ending December 31 of the year listed. 3 In addition to the commodities listed, glass, sulfuric acid, and talc reportedly were produced, but information is inadequate to estimate output. 4 Reported figure. 5 When reported as volume or pieces, conversions to metric tons are estimated. 6 Galvanized steel sheets only.



TABLE 2 ETHIOPIA: STRUCTURE OF THE MINERAL INDUSTRY IN 2013 (Metric tons unless otherwise specified) Major operating companies and major equity owners Caustic Soda Share Co. Derba Midroc Cement plc do. do. Mugher Cement Enterprise (Government, 100%) Messebo Building Materials Production plc (Government, 100%) National Cement Share Co. do. East Cement Share Co. Ture Dire Dawa Cement Factory Share Co. Capital Clinker and Packaging plc Pioneer Cement plc Huang Shan Cement plc Encheni Medrock Cement plc Jiangsu Zhongshun Import and Export Trade Company Ltd. Hua Yu Cement Red Fox International Investment plc Abyssinia Cement plc Derbasina Business Industries plc Jema Cement plc

Commodity Caustic soda Cement Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Do. Clay Kaolin Other Coal, lignite Dolomite Feldspar Gemstones, opal Do. Glass


Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co. (EMDSC) (Government, 100%) Pioneer Cement plc Delbi Coal Mining Share Co. Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co. (EMDSC) (Government, 100%) do. Artisanal miners do. Ethiopia Hansom International Glass plc [CGC Overseas Construction Ltd. (CGCOC) and China-Africa Development Fund] Addis Ababa Bottle and Glass Share Co. Midroc Gold Mine plc (subsidiary of Midroc Group) Artisanal miners do. do.

Do. Gold Do. Do. Do.

kilograms do. do. do.







Do. Gypsum Lime


Do. Do. Do. Niobium (columbium) and tantalum, ore and concentrate Do. Platinum See footnotes at end of table.


do. Pioneer Cement plc Derba Lime and Chemicals (DLC) (Midroc Group, 100%) Senkele Lime Factory Caustic Soda Share Co. (Government, 100%) Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co. (EMDSC) (Government, 100%) Artisanal miners Nyota Minerals Ltd.

Location of main facilities Plant at Ziway Plant at Derba do. Plant at Dejen Plant at Mugher Plant at Mekele

Annual capacity 10,000. 2,500,000. 90,000. 90,000. 2,276,000. 2,240,000.

Plant at Dire Dawa do. Plant at Dukem Plant at Dire Dawa NA NA Plant near Modijo NA Plant at Dukem

1,100,000. 150,000. 750,000. 550,000. 450,000. 450,000. 435,000. 300,000. 250,000.

NA Plant at Adama Plant at Chancho Plant at Holeta Plant in North Shoa zone

150,000. 100,000. 90,000. 90,000. 45,000

Mine at Bamba Wuha


Mine near Melka Jebdu Mine at Delbi Mine at Soloka

67,000.e 30,000.e 8,000.1

Kenticha Mine near Borena Mine at Wegel Tena Mine near Gashena Plant at Addis Ababa

8,000.1 NA. NA. 42,000

do. Mine at Lega Dembi Mines in Oromia Regional State Mines in Tigray Regional State Mines in Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State Mines in Gambella Regional State Mines in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Regional State Mines in Amhara Regional State Mine near Dewelle Plant near Derba

8,000. 4,200. 3,300.e 2,300.e 1,200.e

Plant at Ambo Plant at Ziway Plant near Wonji Kenticha Mine near Borena2

6,000.e NA. NA. 90 tantalum; 20 niobium. 25 tantalum; 14 niobium. 10.e

Mines in Oromia Regional State Mine at Yubdo2

1,100.e 800.e 300.e 30,000.e 73,000.


TABLE 2—Continued ETHIOPIA: STRUCTURE OF THE MINERAL INDUSTRY IN 2013 (Metric tons unless otherwise specified)

Commodity Quartz Salt Silica sand Soda ash Steel: Crude Do. Semimanufactured Do. Do. Do. Stone, crushed Stone, dimension

cubic meters


square meters


cubic meters

Do. Do.

square meters cubic meters

Sulfuric acid e

Major operating companies and major equity owners Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co. (EMDSC) (Government, 100%) Artisanal miners CGC Overseas Construction Ltd. (CGCOC) Abijata-Shalla Soda Ash Share Co. [National Mining Corp. plc (NMiC), 62%; Government, 38%]

Location of main facilities Kenticha Mine near Borena2

Annual capacity 8,000.1

Mines at Afdera Lake Mine near Lemi Mine at Lake Abijata

NA. 180,000.e 20,000.

Abyssinia Integrated Steel plc Sheba Steel Mills plc Abyssinia Integrated Steel plc Zuquala Steel Rolling Mill Enterprise (Government, 100%) Wallia Steel Factory Sheba Steel Mills plc CGC Overseas Construction Ltd. (CGCOC) Ethiopian Marble Processing Enterprise (Government, 100%) do.

Plant at Debre Zeit do. do. do.

150,000.e 20,000.e 150,000. 36,000.

Plant at Alemgena Plant at Debre Zeit Plant at Addis Ababa Mines at Eckonti, Harar, and Mankush Plants at Addis Ababa, Bole, and Nifas Silk Mines at Beninshangul and Harar Plant at Awash Mines in Tigray Region

36,000. 20,000. 930,000.e 5,000.e

National Mining Corp. plc (subsidiary of Midroc Ethiopia Group) do. Saba Stones

Melkasa Aluminum Sulfate and Sulfuric Acid Factory

Plant at Melkasa

65,000. 4,500. 60,000. 4,500 marble; 2,200 limestone; 1,500 granite. 14,600.

Estimated. Do., do. Ditto. NA Not available. The combined capacity for the dolomite, feldspar, and quartz processing plant at the Kenticha Mine is 8,000 metric tons per year. 2 Not operating at the end of calendar year 2013. 1




The Mineral Industry of Ethiopia in 2013 - USGS Mineral Resources

2013 Minerals Yearbook ETHIOPIA [ADVANCE RELEASE] U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey January 2016 The Mineral Industry of Ethi...

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