National Mining Corp., a closely held company majority-owned by Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, said it has 128 tons of gold ready to be mined at its Okote project in south Ethiopia.
“With very little exploration work and by undertaking a definitive feasibility study the reserve could be turned into a big mine,” the Addis Ababa-based company said in a statement e- mailed today.
Okote, which is in the Oromia region, could contain a total of 454 tons, it said. The site may produce around 10 tons a year, almost doubling Ethiopia’s output of the precious metal, NMC said in March.
Extraction will require investment of $121.5 million and the mine may generate profits of $4.3 billion for the company over 20 years, NMC said. It said the government will receive $2 billion over two decades in tax and royalty payments.
Ethiopia, the world’s third-biggest coffee grower, is diversifying its economy to reduce its reliance on agriculture, which accounts for 43 percent of gross domestic product according to African Development Bank data.
Gold exports surged 40 percent to $405.3 million in the first nine months of the fiscal year that ends July 7.