ADDIS ABABA - Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that it is set to install a pipeline from Somali State to Djibouti in order to export natural gas by 2020.
In 1980's a natural gas (naphtha, kerosene and benzene) reserve of some six billion cubic feet has been found in Calub Hilala in Somali state of Ethiopia, Bacha Faji Ministry Public Relations Director told The Ethiopian Herald.
The ministry has reached agreement with Poly GCL, a Chinese mining company to develop the natural gas and build infrastructure including the pipeline from Calub Hilala to Djibouti this fiscal year, he said.
Besides generating one billion USD per annum from export, the natural gas would also serve to meet local demand with fair price, he expressed.
According to him, international mining companies have been dispatched to Abay gorge and Tekeze and Gambela basins and other parts of the country to discover additional mines.
Some 124 mining companies are searching for mines in different parts of the country. The ministry has been promoting the investment opportunities in the sector to attract other companies, he added.
On the other hand, the ministry is also giving trainings to traditional miners on application of modern technologies in the process of discovering, excavating and purifying mines to advance traditional mining, he stressed.
While there are 36 local mining companies, the number of local experts has also been increasing from time to time, Bacha said.
In 2012/13, Ethiopia has earned about 650 million USD from the mining sector. However, following the decrease in the price of mining products globally, increasing market competition and illegal trade, the forex from the sector has fallen significantly, according to the Communication Director.
Last year, the mining export has generated some 231 million USD. Only 61 million USD has been generated from mining export in the first half of the budget year so far, he said.