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Mineral Exploration And Evaluation

 OVERVIEW

Modern mineral exploration was introduced in the country during the 1960s when the United Nations Development program (UNDP) executed a mineral survey in western and southern Ethiopia. Systematic and integrated mineral exploration started when the Economic Minerals Exploration Department was organized in 1984 with the establishment of the Ethiopian Institute of Geological surveys (EIGS). Later the department  was reorganized as the Mineral Exploration and Evaluation Core Process (MEECP) in July 2009.The aim of this core process is to explore and evaluate  metallic and industrial minerals and rocks ane coal and oil shale potential of the country and avail the data of these recourses for users for development and/or further detail exploration ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of the nation. During the past three or four decades various occurrences and deposits of precious, metallic and industrial minerals and rocks  and coal and oil shale resources have been identified.

Most of the explorations related to the understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Proterozoic, Paleozoic to Mesozoic, and Cenozoic terranes of Ethiopia were intended to determine whether the Proterozoic basement and other rocks have potential for economic mineral deposits.  Systematic regional geological mapping and mineral exploration activities by the GSE and others were successful in locating economic mineral deposits in different parts of the country.  These investigations showed that the low-grade belts of volcano-sedimentary successions and associated intrusives in the north, south and west of the country are most promising for gold and base metal deposits are Industrail minerals such as rock salt, potash, phosphate, soda ash, feldspar, dolomite, bentonite, graphite, lime, silica sand and kaolin are found in different parts of the country associated with a wide variety of lithologies. Dimension stones including marble, granite, sandstone, limestone, and ignimbrite, raw materials for cement and aggregate manufacturing, and gemstones of different type and quality are also available in many parts of the country.

Coal and oil shale deposits and occurrences have been found in the Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments in various parts of the country.

 Ethiopia is endowed with a wide variety of minerals and rocks, some of which are available in large quantities and are of excellent quality. Minerals such as potash, bentonite, kyanite, diatomite, graphite, kaolin, marble, granite, limestone, gypum, sand, etc. occur in sufficiently large reserves that could warrant medium to large-scale mining.


The geological survey of Ethiopia (GSE) was set up in 1968 and is engaged in basic geological surveying of the country.Modern mineral exploration as introduced in the country during the 1960s when the United Nations Development program (UNDP) executed a mineral survey in western and southern Ethiopia.The Economic Minerals Exploration Department was organized in 1984, with the establishment of the Ethiopian Institute of Geological surveys (EIGS), later it was reorganized as the Mineral Exploration and Evaluation Core Process (MEECP) in July 2009.The aim of this unit is to conduct detail and follow up explorations and evaluate the economic mineral as well as the hydrocarbon potential of the country and assess the viability of these recourses for further development, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic progress.During the past here or four decades various occurrences of precious, metallic, industrial and hydrocarbon resources have been identified.

 Most of the geological studies related to the understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Proterozoic, Paleozoic to Mesozoic, and Cenozoic terranes of Ethiopia were intended to determine whether the Proterozoic basement and other rocks have potential for economic mineral deposits.  Systematic regional geological mapping and mineral exploration activities by the EIGS and others were successful in locating economic mineral deposits in different regions of the country.  These investigations showed that the most promising regions for gold and base metal deposits are the low-grade belts of volcano-sedimentary successions and associated intrusives in the north, south and west of the country.

 Several metallic and non-metallic deposits and occurrences have been identified since then. Among the metals, Gold is considered the most promising resource. Industrail minerals such as rock salt, potash, phosphate, soda ash, feldspar, dolomite, bentonite, graphite, lime, silica and kaolin are found. Hydrocarbon deposits and occurrences, such as natural gas, oil shale, and lignite, have been found in the Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments in various parts of the country. Lastly, dimension stones including marble, granite, sandstone, limestone, and ignimbrite, raw materials for cement and aggregate manufacturing, and gemstones of different type and quality are also available in many parts of the country.

The Ethiopian Government recently subscribed to a policy that allows any exploration company (Domestic or foreign) to take a concession in an area of potential. Accordingly, many private exploration companies are currently conducting exploration activities in different part of the country.

 Mineral resources play a vital role in the eoonomic development of a country. The accelerating growth of the world's population corn bind with an improving standard of living throughout the world, greatly increases demand for mineral products of all types.The combination and development of the abilities of the explorations and of the scholars researchers of mineral sectors can effectively improve exploration and exploitation of the mineral resources.

Ethiopia is endowed with a wide variety of minerals and rocks, some of which are available in large quantities and are of excellent quality. Minerals such as potash, bentonite, kyanite, diatomite, graphite, kaolin, marble, granite, limestone, gypum, sand, etc. occur in sufficiently large reserves that could warrant medium to large-scale mining. The history of mining in Ethiopia is comparatively recent. However, some mining activities such as iron mining and salt extraction were known in Ethiopia since time immemorial. Ethiopia has been a producer of gold, and such industrial minerals as brick-clay, diatomite, and feldspar, gemston-, granite, gypsum, dydrite, kaolin, limestone, pumice, salt, sand, scoria. The country also produced cements, lime, lignite, and steel. Ethiopia's main mined export is gold, limestone, marble, and gem, mainly opal. Mining for gold in the southern region of Ethiopia dates back to mid 1930's. Since then nearly 80 tons (EMRDC, 1985) of gold has been produced 6om placers of the Adola area alone and nearly 35 tons of gold from the Legadembi primary gold deposit(Midroc Legadembi) between 1991 and the end of 2007. No record is available on the gold production of the western and southwestern regions. However, it is believed that local miners are producing a few kilograms of gold annually. Until' the 2 Mineral k u r c e s Potential of Ethiopia establishment of mdern methods for the mining of the primary gold deposits of Legadembi and Sakaro, mining for gold was mainly carried out by primitive panning methods, employing significant number of labourers. The introduction of semimechanized mining methods, such as hydraulic 'monitors and dredging in the last 2 to 3 decades, has significantly inproved the production of gold in the Adola area Current mining activities include the production of tantalite and soda ash, on a pilot scale; primary gold from Legadembi; placer gold mining mainly from Adola; and mining of industrial minerals such as kaolin, dolomite, magnesite, and dimension stones (limestone, marble, granite, basalt, and sand) as well as sdl-scale artisanal mining of precious metals, gemstones and salt. Other undeveloped resources include copper, semiprecious gemstones (agate, aquamarine, chalcedony, chrysoprase, emerald, garnet, jasper, obsidian, ruby, sapphire, and spinel), manganese, molyt&num, mercury, nickel, palladium, platinum, rhdhn, tungsten, zinc, apatite, bentonite, dolomite, potash, and quartz. In the mineral industry these activities are dominated by the private sector. Some of the privately owned mining activities include the Dalleti Meteke1 marble which was purchased by the National Mining Corporation (NMC) from the previous Ethio-Libyan Joint Mining Company; Metekel marble by Tis Abay Plc; and Legadembi primary goId mine which was also purchased by Midroc Gold Mine (a subsidiary of Midroc Ethiopia Group). Mined prospecting and exploration in Ethiopia began around the end of the 18th century. However, modern minerals exploration started in 1968 with4fhe establishment of the EGS as a department within the Ministry of Mines and Energy to undertake surveys of the geology and potential mineral reserves of the country. Over the past 25 years, the GSE  has carried out exploration for metallic, industrial and energy resources; the results of which are made available to investors.

 A quarter of the total surface area of the country has been geologically mapped at a scale of 1:250,000,of  which 20% has been geochemically surveyed at the same scale. Since the establishment of GSE , the Ethiopian government has undertaken various mined exploration  projects. Both  independently and with the assistance of donor organizations. Until recently, systematic exploration for minerals and mining activities have taken limited to parts of the country, principally to the Adola area (southern Ethiopia), where only a few resources have been found so far that would warrant large-scale mining.

 Objectives

 Conduct extensively mineral prospecting works on metallic and industrial minerals and hydrocarbons in relatively short period of time and with minimum expense; deliver quality geosciences data for customers/share holders; facilitate conditions so that the country benefits from this sector. Systematically gather, organize ,  analyze, interpret and store data, and disseminate geological information in form of reports and maps

ORGANIZATION

 The core process has three operational versions:  Metallic Minerals exploration and Evaluation Case Team; Industrial Mineral Exploration and Evaluation Case Team and Hydrocarbon Exploration and Evaluation Case Team.

 The Industrial Minerals  Exploration and evaluation Case Team focuses its exploration of Minerals and rocks that can improve agricultural productivity such as phosphate, potash, limestone, zeolite etc. Minerals and rocks that can be used as industrial imputes such as feldspar, talc, kaolin, clay limestone etc., Commodities useful for construction purposes such as gypsum, marble, sand, slate, granite etc., Commodities that can be used in steel factories such as limestone, dolomite, silica, bentonite etc., Minerals used as jewelry such as beryl garnet, opal, Tourmaline, spinel , feldspar etc.,

 The following are minerals that are given special emphasis by the Metallic Minerals Exploration and Evaluation Case Team.

 Precious minerals such as gold, platinum, silver etc., Base metals such as copper, zinc, land etc., Minerals such as tantalum, niobium etc., Metallic minerals such as magnetite, hematite, nickel, cobalt etc., Nuclear energy minerals such as uranium, chromium thorium etc., The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Evaluation Case Team targets its exploration of Commodities that are useful to generate energy such as coal, oil shale, petroleum. Commodities such coal, oil shale, black limestone which can generate  oil. Other lithologies and structures that can accommodate and preserve oil in place.

 ACTIVITIES

 The following are the major activities of the Mineral Exploration and Evaluation Core Process listed from top to bottom in hierarchy.

 Preparing project proposal

 Collecting data from pervious exploration and other board scale regional studies and identifying possible mineralized areas by combining data coming from previous works and with reference to well established geological and mineral exploration models. Preparing details of the necessary inputs for further exploration .  Here data collected from different places of previous studies and data from satellite and airborne geophysical studies are critically analyzed. Based on the results of the above studies and analyses, orientation surveys generally considered as confirmation studies come first.  Follow up/detail mineral exploration works follow next.  With the detail explorations a whole lot of geological, geochemical, geophysical, and surface as well as subsurface data are generated.  These data are properly organized and analyzed and ultimately resource appraisal is conducted. Data from the detailed geological studies are organized, analyzed interpreted and stored, and ultimately compiled in a form of report and maps.

 The detail exploration work involves large scale geological and structural mapping (Scale 1:2,000 to scale 1:20,000) in combination with geochemical and ground geophysical surveys.  In the process, geochemical and alteration characteristics , and litho logical as well as alteration control on mineralization critically examined.  Geographic Information systems (GIS) and remote sensing technologies are widely applied fro mapping and resource assessment.

 SERVICES

The MEECP delivers quality geosciences data to its customers/share holders including the GSE, governmental and non governmental organizations and individuals.  It also provides consultancy service in mineral and hydrocarbon exploration.  Moreover, it offers geophysical services for mineral exploration and infrastructure development.

 

 

 

 

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