Ministry of Mines and Petroleum agreed to renew Midroc’s Legedembi Gold Mining license. Midroc Gold is expected to resume production in the next two years.
“Midroc is allowed to start running its mining plant in Legedembi. However, local people who were affected by the project previously must be compensated and reach agreement on how the community get a lasting benefit. Plus, the project cannot resume immediately now, because Midroc has to maintain its machineries, which has been idle,” Frehiwot Fekadu, communications director at MoMP, told EBR.
Midroc Gold, which used to produce around 4,000 kilograms of gold annually, was forced to close its Legedembi large scale gold mining project in 2017, following waves of protests inciting environmental pollution caused by chemical discharges.
Midroc acquired the Legedembi Gold Mining license in 1997 for 20 years of concession, at USD172 million, when the government privatized the project, which first started in the 1930s. After the project was closed in 2017, Ethiopia’s gold export has dropped substantially, apart from the sharp decline of economic activities in towns around the Legedembi Gold project, such as Shakiso town.