Jonathan Brooks, Head of Mining and Metals, and Cecily Davis, Head of Construction & Projects, at Fieldfisher attended the inaugural Ethiopian International Mining Conference in Addis Ababa on 24 and 25 September.
Ethiopia has experienced strong economic growth in recent years and is Africa’s fastest growing economy. The Ethiopian Government is pursuing an export-related development strategy and is working to expand the industrial, manufacturing and services sectors. Ethiopia’s mining sector currently accounts for 1% of the economy, but it is hoped that it will reach 10% of GDP within 10 years. 90% of all current mining activity is artisanal/small-scale. The sector was opened up to private investors in 1991 but it has not proved to be attractive to international investors. However, the regulatory climate is improving following tax and licensing reforms, decreasing the cost of doing business and the Government is seeking to open the sector to foreign companies.
One of the main participators in the Conference was Fieldfisher client, KEFI Minerals, the AIM-quoted mining company, which is developing the Tulu Kapi gold project in Western Ethiopia. KEFI Minerals is in the forefront of the growth of the Ethiopian mining sector and is aiming to be the first internationally financed company to open a mine in Ethiopia. Fieldfisher assisted KEFI in the negotiation of its mining agreement with the Government and is working with the company as it seeks to bring its financing and mine construction plans to fruition.
The Conference, which was opened by H.E. Tolesa Shagi, the Minister of Mines, was a great success in showcasing the abundant mineral resources of Ethiopia and the opportunities available to the mining sector.
We are grateful to the organisers, AME Trade, and the Ministry of Mines for their hard work in putting on the Conference and for the friendship and cooperation of our colleague and KEFI's Ethiopian counsel, Wonde Gebre-Selassie, which made our visit to Addis Ababa so memorable.
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