Gold exports from Ethiopia increased four-fold year-on-year to 24,700 ounces during July and August, this is according to a Bloomberg report.
This was after the central bank offered higher prices to mop up gold that may otherwise be smuggled.
Ethiopia is the latest country in Africa to start buying up artisanal gold to capitalise on the improvement in the metal’s price this year.
Nigeria plans to stem illegal gold exports worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year to boost the country’s foreign reserves. Tanzania has introduced mineral trading centres which have taken artisanal minerals and reduced smuggling said the newswire.
The new attitude towards central bank purchases of gold is part of a government reform programme that is encouraging more mining in the country, said Harry Anagnostaras, executive chairman of London-listed Kefi Gold and Copper, which is developing the Tulu Kapi mine in western Ethiopia.
“The rush is sort of starting … People are starting to come in and it’s because the government is starting to transform itself very deliberately and openly from a sort of reluctant bride to a welcoming host and compliance checker.”
The government aims to more than double the contribution of mining to 10% of gross domestic product over the next decade.
Megado Gold, an exploration company listed in Australia, said it has five gold exploration assets in southern and western Ethiopia, while Canada’s Sun Peak Metals is prospecting in the north of the country. Newmont Corporation and Allied Gold are also digging for gold in Ethiopia.