Ethiopia’s mines ministry announced on Friday that it had cancelled 27 unused mining licenses and issued warnings to three companies to boost production.
Ethiopia has now revoked 90 mining licenses, including 63 that it had already revoked in December.
“Following a re-investigation, 27 mining companies that had been licensed to operate in the mining sector but failed to enter into operation have had their licenses revoked and three miners have been immediately warned to correct their mistakes,” the ministry said in a statement.
The licences will be opened up to international tender, mines minister Takele Uma said.
Ethiopia has been pushing to develop its mineral and metal resources, citing mining as a key sector in its economic reform agenda.
Ethiopia has exported gold worth $504.73 million over the past ten months, the ministry added, up from exports worth $90.3 million in the fiscal year to end-June 2020.
Takele attributed the rise to efforts to bring artisanal miners into the formal market.
Around 75% of the gold exports this year have come from artisanal miners encouraged to sell to state-controlled buying centres, Takele said.
“We’ve been formalising, and increasing the production and the productivity,” he said.
Gold prices have also risen, likely boosting the number of subsistence miners, according to analysts.