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Even though modern mining in Ethiopia is recent, gold has traditionally been mined from alluvial and, to a lesser extent, primary free gold since ancient times. Modern gold mining methods have only been used since the 1930's in the Bedakesa Valley of the Adola area in Southern Ethiopia. Later exploration has resulted in the discovery of the Lega Dembi deposit and other minerals. The Ethiopian rift valley has tremendous potential for industrial minerals resources which are demonstrated by the presence of potash, diatomite, kaolin, bentonite, sulphur, common salt, zeolite, soda ash, pumice, scoria and other various construction raw materials.

Current mining activities also include the production of tantalite and soda ash. The only formal tantalum mining operation is the Kenticha Mine, operated by Ethiopian Mines Development Share Company. Mining of kaolin, dimension stones (limestone, marble and granite) and small scale and artisanal mining of precious metals, gemstone, salt, industrial minerals and construction materials are the main mining activities in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has located some coal reserves in three separate areas in Ethiopia estimated at containing 61 Mt of coal (all lignite). Additional reserves have apparently been located in the Western part of the country.

According to studies, there are diverse mineral deposits in various parts of the country that can meet export standards. Minerals currently being exported include gold, platinum, marble, granite and tantalum. Export of these minerals is on a very limited scale relative to their immense export potential. Other metallic and non-metallic substances that have also been identified in the country include copper, lead, zinc, silver, gypsum, limestone, quartz and pyrite. Most Ethiopian mineral products are exportable to markets in East and Southern Africa and in Asia and Oceania. Due to freight costs, Ethiopian exports have an advantage in these regions of the world over established exports from Europe and North America. Ethiopia has also recently entered into the export of high quality dimensional stones (i.e., different types of unprocessed blocks, as well as processed marble, granite and limestone suitable for both internal and external uses.

Ethiopian opal is quite unique and different from more common Australian and Mexican opal. Ethiopian opals have taken the market by storm since they were first mined in the mid-nineties.

Ethiopian Opal

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©2008 Eseda Export

Ethiopian Trading & Consultancy Service