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Ethiopia lures Chinese miners

Potential Chinese investors have set their eyes on Ethiopia’s mining sector for major investments.The development comes as Ethiopian authorities escalate efforts to attract foreign firms in the extraction of the country’s abundant mineral resources.

Assefa Kumsa, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Mining and Petroleum said his government is inviting experienced foreign companies to invest in the mining sector and a growing number of Chinese investors seek to penetrate in the exploration and production of the East African country’s untapped mineral and natural-gas resources.

“The mining sector has become a priority investment potential for potential Chinese businesses, garnering tremendous interest and capital,” said Kumsa.

Kumsa said dozens of Chinese firms have been recently awarded licenses in the exploration and production of various mineral resources across mineral-rich parts of Ethiopia.

According to the state minister, minerals such as gold, iron-ore, various types of precious stones, chemicals, oil and natural gas, as well as construction inputs are among the mineral resources in which Chinese firms are presently exerting their capital and technology in Ethiopia.

Chinese companies that have recently entered in Ethiopia’s mining sector include Tanaramu Chemical Industrial Plc., which inked a 12-year contract accord with the Ethiopian Ministry of Mining and Petroleum late last week to embark on the production of Bromine chemical resource in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia has different types of mineral resources, ranging from gold, platinum, potash, to iron, oil and gas reserve.

In February this year, governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti contracted a Chinese firm, Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Limited (Poly-GCL), to construct the 767 km Ethiopia-Djibouti natural gas pipeline.

The agreement with the Chinese company is expected to help Ethiopia generate 1 billion U.S. dollars annually from extraction of natural gas and crude oil deposits following the discovery of 7 to 8 billion cubic trillion feet of natural gas by Poly-GCL in Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region.

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