Regional workshop on Mining, “Asmara Geo Congress” will be conducted in Asmara from 4 to 8 of October 2011. The main purpose of the workshop is to discuss on how to effectively utilize the natural resources, especially mines, in the region. The congress will include countries located in what we call the Nubian-Arabian Shield. Countries located at the Nubian Shield are Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia and at the Arabian Shield are Yemen, Jordan, and parts of Israel. In all these countries we find similar rocks important for different developmental activities. Hence, at the congress which will include experts in mining from the mentioned countries and other experts outside, investors, explores, representatives from governments and other stakeholders will participate and discuss and share experiences on the effective utilization of natural resources in the region. This Asmara Geo-Congress is being conducted for the second time in Asmara. Asmara is located at the center of the Nubian-Arabia Shield and its location is suitable for conducting such a congress. Mr. Alem Kibreab, director general for the Department of Mines Department in the Ministry of Energy and Mines, has conducted an interview regarding the congress. Excerpts follow:
What will the congress incorporate?
According to the program on 4 and 5 research papers will be presented and intensive discussion will be conducted on the research papers. During the period of the congress 7 to 8 research papers will be deliberated from keynote speakers who are experts on the field and who have deep knowledge on the natural resources of the Nubian-Arabia Shield. Other papers will include finance, environment, different types of mines and especially of Potash that we give special interest. The Mining Companies that are engaged in our country will also present study papers. Even though the congress is about mining two study papers will be also presented on the recent explosion of Volcano in the Southern Red Sea Region for the area could one day be potential for mine. On the 6th of October a special tour for selected invited guests will conducted to Bisha and Zara and in the same day the others will tour mining areas around Asmara, Dubaruwa. And on the 7th and 8th of October the participants will have the chance of visiting tourism destinations between Asmara and Massawa, the Red Sea, an Island including travel by steam locomotive.
The region, Nubian-Arabia Shield has been for long known for its rich in natural resources. However, the people of the region have never benefitted from those natural resources. This congress is, hence, to revive the sector and attract investors. We decided to conduct the congress in Eritrea for two reasons, one Eritrea’s geographical location and the other hospitality of its people. Taking these two factors in mind we were convinced that we will conduct a successful congress. Our future plan is to make Eritrea a hub for Geo-Congresses similar to those in Cape Town, South Africa, Toronto, Canada and Perth, Australia.
Mining prospect in Eritrea, because of its geographical landscape and terrain, is promising. On the other hand mining exploration could be easily conducted because there you could find the cooperation of every government institution. There is also necessary infrastructure, be it roads, ports, airports and other facilities, put in place in Eritrea that could attract investors come here and invest. Above all we have dedicated and skilled youths that are working in the mining sector. These youths could be considered exemplary in the region. The policy of the Eritrean Government on the sector is clear with no ambiguity. The government is also working hard to develop the sector.
Are investors showing any sign of interest in investing in Eritrea?
Indeed many. With all the hostilities and conspiracies against Eritrea by some outside elements many are willing to come and invest in Eritrea. There are many who are already here working and there are others who are asking the opportunity to invest. And we want to implement on the basis of phases. The main reason for them to come and invest here is that they know the peace and tranquility prevailing in the country and the working principle of the people.
How many countries will participate in the congress?
An invitation has been distributed to all countries and so far we have got the response that companies and government delegates from Sudan, companies from Egypt, are coming to participate, and we are expecting the response from the other countries.
What is the purpose for conducting the congress?
One is to demonstrate that Eritrea is committed to developing the mining industry and attract investors. On the other hand the congress is part and parcel of tourism industry, geo-tourism.