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Asmara Mining Conference: An update about mining undertakings

Experts in mining industry, workers of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, experts of environmental protection, representatives of different mining companies that have been operating in Eritrea and guests of honor gathered at Asmara Palace to attend Asmara Mining conference.


The 5th conference, like preceding mining conferences have become a platform where geologists, exploration experts, and generally different parties that carry out mine related activities share timely experiences.

Asmara Mining conference continued to open a venue for discussion between Government officials and mining companies. Experiences of different mining companies in different geographical areas have also been shared in such conferences. The mining conference also gives a chance to every participant raise ideas for discussion following detailed presentations by experts in the mining industry.

Thus the 5th Asmara Conference has been open starting from 1 October 2014. General Sbhat Efrem, Minister of Mines and Energy, officially opened the conference saying: “The synergic and cordial partnership between the Ministry and mining companies’ steaming out of mutual respect and recognition has been one strong element of the comparative advantage of the mining industry in Eritrea.”

The minister further said “Given its unique process of national formation, its excellent strategic location, its disciplined human resources, corruption free institutions, sound macroeconomic policy, judicious and far looking mining law, and exceptional national cohesion and stability, Eritrea is in far more advantageous position to deal with the transition towards a progressive integration into the globalized economy.”

It is the stable mining jurisdiction that different mining companies time and again cited as a primary factor which enables them to effectively operate in Eritrea.

Different mining companies have given an update about their respective undertakings. According to Mr. Paul Donaldson, Managing Director, South Boulder Mines, the prefeasibility study of Culluli Potash is due to be completed in early 2015 with the final Definite feasibility study completed in the second half of 2015.

Mr. Paul also gave briefings about unique advantages of Culluli mine deposit over other potash mines across the globe. “Shallowest mineralization, proximity to the cost which is only about 75 km from the site, uninterrupted supply of water from the Red Sea, all solid salt contents that are suitable for the production of potash fertilizers constitutes Culluli to be an outstanding emerging high grade potash mine at a global level.” Mr. Paul said.

An update about Asmara Mine Project which covers mine deposits in Dubarwa, Adi-Nifas, Gubbo, and Embadorho that have been explored by Sunridge Gold Corp has also given a clear insight about the actual undertakings that are underway. Hence, Mr. Amanuel Arefaine and Scot Anse, highlighted about the developments in the aforementioned sites.

According to Mr. Amanuel, Sunridge has completed definite feasibility study in May 2013 and signed a shareholders agreement with ENAMCO in January 2014. A centralized mine plant for the four mine sites would be established in Embaderho- a mine site with a greater potential of deposit.

A paper presented by Mr. Amanuel, from Sunridge Corp, shows that the mine life of Asmara project is expected to be 16 years which is to be carried out sticking to a phased approach. Sunridge is looking ahead to kick off actual operation by 2015.

Despite different exploration activities were conducted in Dubarwa, it is Sunridge which proved to be a standalone mine. What the participants could learn from the presentation by Mr. Amauel is that, the potential deposit at any given site could vary depending on the exploration methods employed by respective companies. It is through applying a wise technique that Sunridge concludes Dubarwa to be a standalone mine, according to Mr. Amanuel.

It is indeed need less to mention that different mining companies are carrying out mining activities in Eritrea among which being Zara Mining Share Company which is gold focused mining company in the country. Briefings by Mr. Mike Kelly, General Manager, Zara Mining Share Company, also show that mine construction project is well underway which was officially commenced on 25th September 2013.

What Mr. Mike highlighted is that Zara Mining Share Company has three exploration licenses within 25km of mine infrastructure. The company plans to drill over 10,000 m each year for a period that extended for 5 Years and thereby to increase life of mine to over 10 Years.
Zara Mining Share Company has already targeted its first gold pour to be in the third quarter of 2015 with an average gold production of 100,000 oz per annum. Koka mine site which is the property of Zara Mining Share Company has already been constructed.

The 5th Asmara Mining company has indeed become a venue where different institutions and the mining companies sit and discuss under the same roof. Different mining companies that have been operating in Eritrea have been working in collaboration with different national institutions and corporations.

The involvement of different local institutions and companies in the activities being carried out by Zara Mining Share Company such as: National Insurance Corporation of Eritrea, Red Sea Trading Corporation, Trans Horn, Eritrean Petroleum Corporation, Segen Construction Company, Eriequip, Eritrean Core Well Drilling, and Government Garage is cited as a good example which opens a gate for cooperation between local suppliers and different mining companies.

Mr. Nahom Tesfay, Phd candidate at VU University Amsterdam, presented a paper under the title “Technology Spillovers in Extractives.” Mr. Nahom indicated that having linkage with local suppliers would enable mining companies to have a variety of choices to make in finding cost effective equipment.  Collaborating with different local research centres would mutually benefit different players.

Asmara Mining Conference 2014 has also unveiled details of the activities that have been carried out in Haykota Mining Project with a special reference to Yacob Dewar VMS deposit. Dr. Seaife Berhane and Dr. Tim Williams gave highlights of the potentials of mines in that respective area.

Mr. Mussie Alemseged and Mr. Tesfaldet Berhane also gave briefings about the Geology and Stratigraphy of the Harena deposit.

The participants of the 5th Asmara Mining Conference have also observed an exhibition that displayed work accomplishments of different mining, exploration, and supplier companies. Even though presentation of papers were closed in the evening hours of 2 October 2012, VIP participants of the Mining Conference will make tours in different mine sites such as Bhisha, Zara while the rest participants will visit the Asmara Mining Project( Debarwa, Embaderho and Adi-Nifas) and the 5th Asmara Mining conference will be officially closed on 5 October 2014.

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