Ethiopia’s marble resources, in different states, have for long remained floating capital . This is due to the absence of different organizational structural set ups and inability to discharge entrusted responsibility to the level the country expect to get from the sector.
The Public Relation and Communication Expert Awoke Tesfa, told The Ethiopia Herald the mining sector has passed through different organizational structures. It was in 1985 the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Resources was established. Later in 1990 the Water Resource wing was separately structured as an independent commission. And the mining and energy sectors independently stood as a ministry. Then in 2010 the energy sector was split into different structural forms. After that in 2013 the mining and energy sectors were reorganized as the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
In 2010, the mining sector had been reestablished as a Ministry of Mines to promote the development of mining. The sector as well aspires to promote the proper collection of data on minerals. And it sees to its maintenance and accessibility to users. It also encourages mining investment through facilitating exploration and mining operations.
In collaboration with concerned organs it regulates the market for precious and ornamental minerals produced at the level of traditional and Micro and Small scale Enterprises engaged in mining. As may be necessary, it also organizes research and training centers that may assist the enhancement of the development of mining. It also issues licenses to private investors engaged in the exploration and mining enterprises to ensure that they conduct mining operations and meet financial obligations in accordance with their special considerations and agreements.
Under the current structure,Ministry of Mining, marble production is continuously rising. Under the framework of the law of the land, local and international investors organizing in different associations and individually engage in the sector.
Three small local producers and 8 large companies are licensed for the production of marble in Ethiopia. From those 8 large companies one is from China. The one from China has legally registered for 20years contract with the Ethiopian government by fulfilling the Ethiopian Investment Policy requirement set for foreigners.
Awoke also explained such a move is an indication of the derive of Ethiopia to use its natural resources mutually with other countries respecting the investment proclamation of Ethiopia towards common growth.
Marble-related yields serve as inputs for chemicals, papers, ceramics, glasses,construction materials and soda. Also they serve as inputs for hen’s feed, finishing materials, yeasts, dye, among others.
According to Awoke, researches indicate that in Ethiopia is replete with a wealth of marble deposits. Marble is found scattered at the different places in the country. The following states have over 100tones of marble each. In Benishangul Gumuz: Mora, Daletei, Baruda, Parzeite, Manden, and Bulene.In Tigray state in Hulkani. In Amahara state mentawoha and others.Also in Somali State, etc.
Awoke also stressed that any national or foreign investor, plc or organization capable to invest in marble production that can fulfill the country’s mining production policy and procedures can engage in this wealth tapping task. Towards this end, the Chain’s company is engaged in marble production Benishangul Gumuz State .The company has signed a 20years long contract. This trend shows Ethiopia is open for investors who/which have interest to engage in the sector’s investment.
Therefore, the small and large companies active in the country are not enough to utilize the mining sector in Ethiopia. Ethiopia has a lot to do in promoting the development of mining. It has to collect, maintain and render data on minerals accessible.
Encourage mining investment through facilitating exploration and mining operations is necessary. There is a call for ensuring the proper extraction of mines in collaboration with concerned persons, Plc’s and organs.
The government has to see to the following tasks. Creating market for precious and ornamental minerals produced at the level of traditional, small and large scale mining enterprises, organizing as necessary support in research and training centers that may assist the enhancement of the development of mining, issuing the country licenses to private investors engaged in exploration and mining operations , ensuring the conduct of mining works and meeting financial obligations as per agreements with the government of Ethiopia during respective period of investment .
Awoke notes that the mining sector opens up job opportunities for the youths and women. It affords a motivational incentive to them to be job creators rather than job seekers. Utilizing such opportunities the sector makes possible the government could initiate newly graduated students and others to contribute their due share in the mining sector to spur the country’s development.
Awoke is of the opinion that this sector can absorb huge task force. It could be used for income generation and improving life standards. Citizens can also play crucial role for the development of the country supplying inputs for the entire and foreign organizations in different situations like construction, chemical production, dry lot finishing and other functions. So it should be utilized effectively and efficiently to develop the country.