Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry said that artisan miners are exporting larger proportion of minerals than industrial mining thereby securing foreign currency for the nation.
Ministry Mineral Marketing and Value Chain Director Tewoldeberhan Abay told The Ethiopian Herald that the artisan miners generated 70 million USD while the industrial ones secured 62 million USD over the past eight months.
"Previously, governments did not pay attention to artisan miners, but the incumbent has attached due attention to mine development and its contribution for the economy. It has also established a system with legal frameworks which enable citizens benefit from the resources."
He said the government is providing artisan miners with technical support in organizing, offering training, and creating market linkage, among others.
According to him, over 1.2 million Ethiopians have been directly engaged in artisan mining until the end of 2016, while about 7.5 million people engaged indirectly. These figure is expected to increase this year owing to the focus placed on job creation for the youth.
Out of the 70-80 per cent of minerals exported are mine by Artisan miners. Though the nation has a huge mineral potential, the mining sector has not been well developed. Hence, the sector contribution to the GDP is limited to only two to three per cent though it is the second largest currency generator next to agriculture, he noted.
The Director said the government is working closely with different concerned parties to address contraband activities in the sector.
Ethiopia generates a currency of about 230 to 490 million USD annually from mining sector, according to him.