The Ministry of Mines (MOM) is one of the Federal Ministries of Ethiopia which is given the responsibility of the proper development of the mining sector. The role of the Ministry is mainly to generate the basic geoscience data of the country, to promote the mineral and petroleum potentials of the country, to negotiate and issue licenses to the private investors and ensure that they conduct mineral and petroleum operations in accordance with their concession agreements.
The exploration for the assessment of the mineral and petroleum resources has been carried out both by Government (Geological Survey of Ethiopia) and private companies. These geoscientific studies have come up with significant discoveries of gold, tantalum, phosphorus, iron, salt, potash, soda ash, gemstones, coal, geothermal, natural gas, other industrial and construction minerals in different parts of the country. Gold has been produced from placer deposits mainly by the artisanal miners for several thousand years. There is a large scale primary gold mining operation which produces about five tons of gold per annum.
Nowadays significant and well defined orogenic gold and volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits are also outlined by the private companies. Huge industrial and construction raw materials occur in different parts of the country. Ethiopia has a large potential for geothermal energy resource along the East African Rift System (EARS). There are gas field discoveries in the Ogaden Basin (south-eastern part of the country) and intensive exploration of hydrocarbons in several localities of Ethiopia.
The mining industry in Ethiopia is dramatically growing with major involvement of the private sector. The government has enacted a very competitive legal and fiscal regime that attracted many local and foreign mining companies to involve in the mineral exploration and mining.