13 January 2013

Ethiopia: Artisan Gold Still Short of Central Bank Quota

Traditional artisan gold miners have failed to supply the central bank of Ethiopia with the required gold quota for the past two quarters. The government requirement, an exact replica of the quota from the past year, over-estimated the potential of the gold-supplying regions.

Artisans produce the majority of the gold Ethiopia exports, supplying 68pc of the total, in 2011/12. In the last two quarters of the 2012/13 fiscal year, around 2,000 artisans in five regions have sold only 4,325Kg of gold to the central bank, 34.4pc lower than the planned quantity. That, however, is still significantly higher than the 3,809Kg they supplied during the same period of the last fiscal year.

Gambella Region surpassed its target of 600Kg, by supplying 697.6Kg. Oromia Region, which accounts for the largest contribution of gold extracted by artisans, fell short by seven percent, after supplying 1,848.7Kg.

Benishangul Gumuz and Southern regional states were each supposed to come up with a 1,000Kg of gold, but they were only able to deliver 535.6Kg and 309Kg, respectively. Tigray's artisans also only produced 974.3Kg, less than half of the 2,000Kg target.

Artisans in Amhara, whose contribution was always minimal, produced nothing during the last two quarters, because, according to the Ministry of Mines (MoM), the region never had its own gold, but infringed on neighouring Benishangul Gumuz and Tigray regions.

This is the second year in a row that artisan miners have failed to achieve the targets set by the Ministry of Mines (MoM).

"This is because the Ministry's plan is not based on the real potentials of the regions," a source at the Ministry said.

The Ministry is using the same plans as last year, according to the source, but it has only achieved 32.7pc of the 13,200Kgs it planned for 2012/13.

A gram of gold has been selling at an average price of 53 dollars in the international market, during the last two quarters, down from 56.2 dollars, during the same period in 2011/12.

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