Arega Yirdaw (right), Midroc CEO, announcing the 33tn of gold find in the Jillaye Site, on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at the Sheraton Addis. Also in attendance (seated from left to right) are Terefe Mengesha and Getachew Hagos, executive vice presidents (EVP) of Midroc; Assefa Getahun managing director of exploration operations for Midroc Gold; and Tirsit Agonafir, general manager of Trust Protection & Personnel Services Plc, (background) listens in.
(AddisFortune) MIDROC Gold Mine Plc, which is one of the subsidiaries under MIDROC Ethiopia Technologies Group, has announced that it has discovered 33,000kg of gold deposits at its mining block spanning of 2,292 square kilometres (sqkm) at Jillay, some 600km from Addis Abeba in the Metekel Zone of the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State.
This find comes after seven years of exploration, beginning with Jillaye MIDROC Gold’s third site, MIDROC has two other sites where it mines for gold in Legedembi, located 500km south of Addis Abeba, in the Sakaro Mines. MIDROC Gold stated that it has spent 46.1 million Br for the seven year exploration.
Arega Yirdaw (PhD), CEO of MIDROC Ethiopia, noted that the discovery came after samples were collected in the 770sqkm Jillaye Site, where MIDROC dug 98 holes with lengths ranging from 200 metres to 300 metres deep.
Talks are ongoing with foreign consultants to conduct feasibility studies to determine the technical, economical and environmental viability of starting mining operations, Arega stated. The CEO also noted that if the studies prove positive, the potential gold production in Jillaye could go beyond 2025.
“We will continue exploration on the remaining 770sqkm block with the possibility of further discoveries of more deposits,” Arega said.
Arega noted that once extraction begins in Jillaye, it would supplement MIDROC’s revenue from Legedembi and Sakaro which are currently in the digging stage. The Legedembi Gold Mine is an open pit operation with annual production of 1.6 million tonnes of ore.
“We see production coming in a cascading effect and soon Sakaro will start production followed hopefully by Metekel. Legedembi can last another 12 to 13 years and we expect similar outputs from the two additional farms. By 2030, this company will be secure even by conservative estimates,” Arega declared.
The grade of the Jillaye Site is similar to the Legedembi Mine which is the only MIDROC Gold mine that is producing gold. Legedembi has a yearly average production of about 4,500kg of gold-silver doré with the average composition of 78pc for gold and 21pc for silver. The gold doré bars are shipped to Argor Heraus refinery in Switzerland where it is refined and sold to Commerzbank in Zurich.
To meet the growing demand for mining experts, Arega stated that a mining engineering department would be opened at MIDROC’s other subsidiary, Unity University, to build the company’s local capacity in mining.
MIDROC Gold is the only company involved in industrialised primary gold exploration; Legedembi Mine has been the main source of gold for MIDROC Gold Plc. MIDROC is the only private company currently producing gold in Ethiopia since its acquisition of the Legedembi mine at a cost of 172 million dollars in 1998 through the government’s privatisation programme.
MIDROC Gold Mine Plc is owned by Mohamed Ali Al-Amoudi (Sheikh) and his family, with 98pc of the share and the remaining two per cent allocated as a free equity share for government participation, represented by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED).