By Zelalem Girma
The Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas said the mining sector is playing pivotal role in generating more foreign currency and curtailing extra expenses aimed at importing foreign currency as well as creating huge job opportunities.
Ministry's Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Director Geremew Negassa also told The Ethiopian Herald that the country has earned 231.247 million USD from mineral exports during the previous fiscal year. Of the total earnings, the country exported 5,969 kg Gold, 693 kg Opal, 270 meter cube Marble, 210 ton Tantalum, and 2,728,095 kg other minerals.
Geremew also said the country has also earned 164.47 million Birr from various mining related activities. Of these, 2.49 million USD from petroleum, 102,100 Birr from small and micro enterprises, 4.048 million Birr from other geological services, he added.
The ministry allocated 58.815 billion Birr to achieve the targets set for the second Growth and Transformation Plan Period, and to boost the volume of minerals' investment and to generate more foreign currency.
Geremew also said the mining sector has created permanent and temporary job opportunities for over 170,000 citizens in the fiscal year. Of these, 123,650 are males while the remaining 47,148 are females.
To make this happen, the roles of mining companies and private traditional gold miners were very significant. Among the total jobs created, 166,769 were by private traditional gold miners whereas 3,893 by local and foreign companies.
Compared with the preceding year's performance, the volume of gold and tantalum productions showed a decline due to the incapability of gold miners and lack of market accessibility. Thus, the Ministry has been working in cooperation with pertinent and concerned stakeholders to create a favorable environment for private investors for exploration and development of mineral resources, Geremewu stressed.