By William Davison
Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Ethiopia is set to approve a mining license for Nyota Minerals Ltd. to develop the Tulu Kapi gold deposit, Mines Minister Sinknesh Ejigu said.
“We have agreed on the technical and environment terms and we are finalizing the economics,” Sinknesh said in a phone interview from the capital, Addis Ababa, today. “At the end of the day, they will get the mining license.” There is no date set for approval, she said.
The project in western Ethiopia 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of Addis Ababa, contains an estimated 1.87 million ounces of gold, according to the website of Nyota, whose shares trade on exchanges in the U.K. and Australia. Nyota Chief Executive Officer Richard Chase didn’t immediately respond today to an e-mailed request for comment.
Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee producer, is diversifying its economy away from a reliance on agriculture by encouraging investment in mining and manufacturing. Revenue from gold exports jumped 32 percent to $602 million in the 2011-12 fiscal year from the same period a year earlier, according to Access Capital, an Addis Ababa-based research company. Midroc Gold, which is owned by Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, is the only company mining gold in the Horn of Africa nation.
Nyota is exploring for the precious metal around Tulu Kapi in Oromia region and in the north of the country, according to its website.