The Society of Eritrean Earth Scientists and Mining Engineers (SEESME) conducted its founding congress at the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) Hall on 13 December, 2019.
After so long Eritrean professionals in Geology, Mining Engineering, Process Engineering and other related fields of earth science lived to see the day. The historic day brought them together to have responsibility to develop and sustain both their profession and the nation. The event was attended by government officials, professionals representing different fields, and distinguished guests. Nearly half of the attendees were young professionals.
Participants were welcomed to the conference with an opening remark by the chairman of the organizing committee, Dr. Seife Berhe, Executive Director of Andiamo Exploration (Eritrea Branch). In his brief speech he congratulated the participants for taking part and witnessing what can be considered a glorious day for professionals in the field of earth sciences.
In his keynote address, Mr. Alem Kibreab, Director General of the Department of Mines at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, said that it was 32 years back that the inception of the association had started. He added that few interested Eritreans used to meet on the fringes of the annual Eritrean Festival in Bologna, Italy, where they came up with the idea of fostering the Mines Sub-commission that was then operating under the EPLF’s Construction Commission.
Mr. Alem said during the armed struggle for independence, there were various geological and hydrological studies conducted for road construction and digging wells. Some mapping and mineral exploration studies were also carried out.
With the optimistic initiative of few professionals, Eritrean earth scientists in the diaspora formed what they called Society of Eritrean Earth Scientists (SEES).
Mr Alem reminded the participants about the initiatives that have been taken to develop the College of Engineering by providing mining and process engineering courses in the last decade with a view to providing skilled human resources for the budding mining industry. If the human resources needs of the mining industry are to be met, he emphasized, the entire society should be made aware of earth science and professionals should be motivated to conduct research and exchange new ideas.
Mr Alem firmly underlined that emphasis should be given to young national professionals that would ultimately come out with results under the proper mentoring and guidance of their elderly professionals. Indeed the newly founded society requires this inertia to accelerate and rigorously achieve its set out visions. Among the comments he made, there appeared a need to secure and improve relations with other professional societies and associations with the intent of sharing experience and developing collaboration. Mr. Alem concluded by thanking the organizing committee, concerned government bodies, and exploration and mining companies for supporting the initiative and helping young professionals gain practical skills.
Mr. Habteab Tsige, Head of the Mining Engineering Department at the Eritrean Institute of Technology (EIT), presented the draft constitution and code of conduct of SEESME. After the participants thoroughly discussed the draft constitution the congress unanimously adopted it.
Members were elected to serve in the management team and the advisory board. Five were elected as members of the Executive Committee and will serve as Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Editor, and Public Relation officer of the association. Five others, from within and out of Eritrea, were elected as members of the advisory board and two were nominated to work as auditors.
Mr. Alasdair Smith, CEO and General Manager of Alpha Exploration, presented a paper on ‘Mineral exploration in the 21st century’ and following that Mr. Habteab Tsige and Dr. Tewelde Woldekidan, Head of Geology Department at EIT, gave presentations under the theme ‘Role of higher education in earth science, mining and process engineering’.
At the end, a paper entitled ‘Changing of metal markets and the move to a low carbon economy’ was presented by Dr. Seife Berhe and ‘Geoscience research in Eritrea’ was presented by Professor Ghebrebrhan Ogbazghi of EIT.
In an exclusive interview, Dr. Seife Berhe pointed out that a number of professionals have been produced over the years and the core objective of establishing this association is to bring all the professionals together by maintaining the unity and strength that will surely play a due part in the needed sectors. As to the importance of SEESME for the members, he believes that the significance is way great if we invested the needed resources and manpower corresponding to the start-up and optimistic mining industry of the country. He went on to encourage the members to better gain skills and seek extra opportunities. He finally said conducting seminars and research and working to establish links with compatible associations will eventually payoff.
As of 19th November, 2019, SEESME is an officially recognized association. And if the young professionals are soon going to take hold of their duties and be proud to be part of SEESME, they must be acquainted with the technical workings of the association.