Habte Giorgis Churnet, Ph.D.


UC Foundation Professor and Head of Department

Physics, Geology and Astronomy Department

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, TN


A meaningful, social and political transformation necessitates identification and proper utilization of resources. The greatest of resources to any nation are its human resources, which encompass the level of education of the people, their technological know how, their tradition, political organizations, and their religious and other cultural values.

The land resources which includes the aerial extent of a country that is available for use by its citizens is important. The larger the area the better. The quality of the land in terms of the variety of fauna and flora that it sustains, its capacity for agricultural use, its content of economic mineral deposits (industrial minerals such as salt, gypsum, and clay; ore deposits sought for their metals such as gold, copper, and iron; and fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal), its proximity to developed international centers, and/or availability of rapid transportation systems to such centers would raise the value of any real state.

This short report touches upon natural resource that result from rock forming processes (syngenetic deposits), or from rock-water, water-air, and rock-air interactions that generally produce epigenetic mineral deposits. Both syngenetic and epigenetic deposits are housed in rocks (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic) and soils derived from rocks. Sedimentary rocks are formed from sediments that settle down from bodies of water (rivers, lakes, and oceans). Igneous rocks are formed by the cooling of molten rock materials. When sedimentary and igneous rocks are buried and subjected to increased amount of temperature and pressure, they are transformed into a different rock type called metamorphic rock.

Surface and near surface rocks of Ethiopia are comprised of the three rock types, and in general each rock type was formed over a specific span of time that is measured in millions of years (Ma).

1. Precambrian (before 570 Ma). Metamorphic rocks of great antiquity are currently exposed in the southwest in Wellega and Illubabor, in the South in Sidamo, in the southeast in Harrarghe, in the northwest and north in Eritrea and Tigre. Precious metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, cobalt, nickel, and chromium, base metals such as copper, and iron, and industrial minerals such as garnets, feldspars, asbestos and clays are to be found in these rocks. These ancient rocks and their minerals are exposed either because they were not covered by younger rocks as in northern and southwestern districts, or because younger rock cover was eroded away during subsequent uplift and erosion.


Table 1. Place names and metallic deposits in Precambrian rocks


Iron Ore Provinces

Wellega & Illubabor Sidamo Harrarghe Eritrea

------------------- ------------ ------------- ----------------

Chago, Worakalu Shakisso Chercher Agametta, Sabu

Gordan * * Wallet Sheck

Bilt * * *


Copper sulfide and quartz-vein gold provinces

Wellega & Illubabor Sidamo Harrarghe Eritrea

------------------- -------- ------------ --------------------------

Bomo,Ondonok * * Hamassien, Adi Rassi

Asosa,Tulu kapi * * Adi Heza, Seroa

* * * Harab-Suit, Ugaro


Placer Gold Provinces

Wellega & Illubabor Sidamo Harrarghe Eritrea

------------------- --------------- ---------- -------------

Akobo Agheremariam * *

* Adola * *


***Platinum (Pt), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Chromium (Cr)********

Wellega & Illubabor Sidamo Eritrea

------------------- ------------------------ ------------------

(Pt) Yubdo (Ni, Co) Monissa, Tulla (Ni, Cr) Shameghe

* Ula-Ulo, Ujima Harab Suit

* (Ni, Co, Cr) Cobessa, *

* Dubicho, Kenticha *

* Budussa *


2. Mesozoic (150-65 Ma). An oceanic body of water flooded (transgressed) over most of Ethiopia up to Debre Markos and Eritrea from the southeast. Sedimentary rocks comprising of sandstone, claystone, gypsum, and limestone were deposited during the transgression and withdrawal of that sea. Fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal; industrial minerals such as clays and gypsum; and metallic deposits such as ores of zinc, copper and lead are to be looked for in these rocks.

3. Cenozoic (65 Ma to present day). Ethiopia was uplifted along its center and then dissected by a rift valley. In the process large amounts of igneous rocks piled up to produce the highest mountains of the land such as Ras Dashen, and Menagesha, whilst others covered part of the rift floor. Also, sediments were deposited on part of the rift floor to form sedimentary rocks. Oil, gas, coal, clay minerals, phosphates, gypsum, common salt and other evaporates are to be looked for in the sedimentary rocks, whereas prospects for sulfur and metallic deposits might be limited to volcanic rocks.

In this report it is assumed that the audience has no formal training in geology. However, it may already be evident that there are times (metallogenic epochs) and places (metallogenic provinces) at which economic deposits are formed. Such epochs and provinces have to do with an interplay of evolution and plate tectonics. To that end the rest of this report is divided in two section. The first section emphasizes evolution of rocks and formation of economic minerals, fossil fuels, and geothermal energy. The second section focuses on mineral economics. In both sections, sufficient emphasis is placed on meaningful examples that are aimed at providing fairly easy comprehension of what otherwise is a complicated Earth Systems Science.



By analogy to the crust of a pie, which when placed in an oven rises to a dome and fractures along three directions that meet at the center, the Ethio-Arabian region was probably subjected to earth-crust heating processes that uplifted it to a dome and then dissected it by three rift valleys. We will find that these processes have economic significance. The three fractures are the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Ethiopian Rift, which meet at the Afar Triangle. It follows that the dome- rift process is a possible explanation for the great topographic relief in Ethiopia, which ranges from 0 in the Afar and the Red Sea coast to about 4600 meters above sea level at Ras Dashen. This relief is marked by different climatic zones, which may broadly be separated into lowlands (Kola), midlands (Weinadega), and highlands (Dega).

The Ethiopian Rift is a lowland that extends from the Afar Triangle, through the Lakes District encompassing Lakes Zeway and Chemo, to Lake Turkana at the Kenyan boarder. East of the Ethiopian Rift (Eastern Highlands), major rivers like the Wabe Shebele, Weyb, Genale and Dawa flow eastward away from the rift rim. West of the Ethiopian Rift valley (Western Highlands), major rivers like the Tekeze, Dinder, Abbay, and Baro flow westward away from the rift rim. The river flow pattern, therefore, is an evidence of the doming of the region and its dissection by a rift valley. The uplift is an ongoing process because the rivers continue to cut deep valleys in the highlands and midlands, and deliver huge quantities of silt to neighboring countries. Close to 72 million cubic meters of water flows annually from the rivers of Western Highlands that drain into the Nile. The legendary Blue Nile, laden with Ethiopian silt and mud joins the clear White Nile in The Sudan, and ultimately flows to Egypt. The challenge is to dam these rivers and their tributaries as a way of reducing the level of erosion in the drainage basins, increasing irrigated lands for crops and for generating hydroelectricity.

Unlike the fugitive rivers that flow into other countries, the Awash and Omo rivers, start from the Western Highlands, enter into the Ethiopia Rift Valley and empty into lakes within the rift floor, at Lake Abe in the Afar Triangle and Lake Turkana, respectively. Several irrigation farms already are in operation at different sites along the Awash. More need to be constructed alongside both rivers. Additionally, these two rivers have exposed rocks along their valleys in the rift floor, rocks within which earliest hominid fossils are found. Obviously, man originated in Ethiopia, and we got the bones to prove it.

That part of the Ethiopian lithosphere (rock layer), where fossil hominids are found, has enormous sentimental (and economic- tourist) value. Other parts of the lithosphere provide economic deposits whose value, like all matters of economics, are dependent on several conditions. As briefly outlined, the surface hydrospheric parameters, rivers, lakes, and seas, and atmospheric influences, i.e., climatic zones, are all closely linked with geologic processes, processes that have a beginning with the origin of the earth itself.

Of course we are all aware of the delicate atmosphere over Ethiopia. In the last two decades, recurring draught has focused attention on air circulation. Is the Sahara desert moving south? If so, at what rate? or what is the residence time of desert conditions? Maybe the situation is not as ominous. Perhaps the draught has to do with El Nino (ocean water-warming) events. The factors that produce Ninos are debatable and include sunspot activity, oscillation of air pressure on different sides of an ocean, and subaqueous hyrothermal venting (associated with earthquakes) along sectors of mid oceanic ridges. Some scientists believe that Indian ocean Ninos delay monsoon rains and cause draught in East Africa. If the Ninos can be predicted then farmers may be advised to grow draught resistant crops. Aside from any real or perceived desert or draught conditions, study of air resources includes charting the spatial and temporal climatic flux over the whole of Ethiopia. Farmers and other land developers need such vital information.

Even the rock layer of the earth is restless. Ethiopia was assembled by different geologic process at separate geologic times, of the restless earth. When Ethiopia used to be close to the South Pole, it was covered by ice (glacier). Subsequently, it was a place of deglaciation (melting of ice) and erosion. In contrast, Europe and America were at equatorial regions and were covered by lush vegetation that later turned to the great coal deposits of the Carboniferous (some 330 million years ago). The industrial revolution in these regions was fueled by coal, a revolution in which Ethiopia did not participate. Clearly, Geology has a tremendous impact on economic development.

Much later (in the Mesozoic, some 150 million years ago), there was a period when most of Ethiopia, e.g., the region east of Debre Markos and Eritrea was flooded by marine waters. In the warm shallow seas, abundant marine organisms lived, and when they died their hard parts (shells) where chemically cemented to form limestone. Under appropriate conditions of burial, temperature and pressure, the remains of organisms can be converted into natural oil and gas. The great oil reserves of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf regions were formed in Mesozoic deposits. In Ethiopia, oil and gas are to be looked for in the Mesozoic rocks of the Ogaden region, and of course Somalia has important reserves in similar rocks. Oil and gas may also be looked for in younger rocks (20 million years or younger) of the Red sea and the Afar.

Actually, the Red Sea and the Afar have other economic values. They are a repository of huge quantities of rock salt, which formed in shallow seas of tropical regions. In the Dahalc islands the salt reserves exceed 43,000 cubic kilometers. A significant amount of salt deposit (5 kilometers thick) is also found in Danakil depression of northern Afar. At Dalol, potash (a useful fertilizer) is mined from certain layers within the thick salt deposit. Clearly, the Afar was flooded by marine waters to a depth sufficient to cause the formation of potash.

Geothermal Energy

The rift system offers yet another economic benefit. A rift valley is one where the earth's rock layer is stretched thin and cracks at places. The Ethiopian rift has a thin lithosphere (< 21 Km), so that molten material lies at shallow depth. The molten material occasionally ascends in the form of volcanoes, and gases escape through the volcanoes and at other place, as does hot steam (hydrothermal fluid). The dormant volcanic dome of Zequala near Bishoftu (Debre Zeit), and many others in the rift valley, including the fourteen active volcanoes, the most spectacular among them being Erta 'Ale with a lava lake that has been active since 1904, all of them are a testament that there is a hot molten material at shallow depths beneath the rift. The heat from the shallow molten material can produce hot ground water. The Filwha bath house in Addis Ababa utilizes naturally hot ground water. Many other hot springs abound in rift floors. What basically happens is that the temperature of cold water which descends down fissures is changed by the heat of the molten material at depth, and upon turning into hot steam it ascends to the surface. Such an inexhaustible source of hot steam is a form of geothermal energy and can be used to generate electricity.

Geothermal systems produce inexhaustible natural steam, in contrast to coal-fired plants or nuclear plants that generate steam by heating water in large boilers. The pressure of fast flowing water or steam released against the blades of a turbine rotates its shaft which is also connected to an electric generator. In the generation of electricity, mechanical energy is transformed into electrical energy. The transformation makes use of the ability of a moving magnet to induce electricity in a conducting wire . Basically, a magnet around which a copper wire is wound is attached to the shaft of a turbine. When the turbine rotates, the magnet is moved and electricity is induced (generated) in the wire. The electrical energy can be distributed to perform mechanical tasks, via suitable motors, such as pumping water for irrigation, drilling tunnels for roads, railroads, etc., and of course for producing light.

Thus, Ethiopia has a potential for generating abundant electricity, energy that is necessary for a vibrant economy. To this author, it seems that when God created man in Ethiopia, he ascertained that there is abundant energy for his people to live a fulfilling life. The challenge is to increase the number of Ethiopian engineers that can translate theory to practice.

Ore Forming Processes

Geothermal energy is not limited to recent rifting. Hot fluids (hydrothermal fluids) were circulating in subsurface rocks under appropriate hydrodynamic settings throughout geologic time. Hydrothermal fluids alter subsurface rocks. They leach metals from rocks, carry them to other areas where the conditions are appropriate and deposit them in a concentrated form. Hydrothermal circulation may (black smoker deposits or submarine exhalative deposits) or may not (volcanogenic massive sulfides, hypothermal gold, tungsten, or silver deposits, mesothermal porphyry Copper and molybdenum deposits, skarn deposits containing iron and/or sulfides, telethermal carbonate- hosted or sandstone-hosted lead, zinc, copper deposits) operate under a body of water like an ocean. Metallic elements of all sorts may be mobilized by such means from one part of a rock and deposited in a concentrated form in other parts of the same or different rock.

In other places, molten material oozes to shallower parts of the crust at which it turns into rocks, and metallic deposits such as platinum, gold, cobalt, chromium, and nickel may be formed in layers of the cooling rock. Much later, after erosion and removal of the cover rock, some of the metallic deposits, especially heavy metals like platinum and gold can be concentrated (placer gold deposits, platinum-bearing laterite soils) by sedimentary processes of weathering and erosion. Since gold- bearing rock particles are heavy and do not travel far from their source whilst barren rocks are lighter and are carried by water farther down rivers, placer gold deposits are enriched by such sedimentary reworking.

The Precambrian metallic deposits shown in Table 1 were formed by ore forming processes described above.



Illustrative problems:

First, let us examine an illustrative exercise that deals with a calculation of mineral economics relative to a mine from the copper reserves of Ethiopia. (Reserve refers to economically recoverable material in identified deposits. Thus, reserve is a part of resource and is distinguished by degree of certainty of existence of a mineral commodity and the feasibility of economic recovery of that commodity).

Problem 1.

The Adi Rassi (Adi Nefas) porphyry copper (Cu) deposit, which was mined since the days of the Pharaohs, and during Portuguese occupation, has a potential copper reserve estimated at 20,000,000 tons of ore, and 20,000 tons of copper. A proved deposit of ore was found to have a grade of 2.5% Cu and measured 300 meters by 1.5 meters by 150 meters. Given that its density was 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter, calculate the value of the deposit on the assumption that the entire orebody was transported to a concentrator in Saudi Arabia and 80% of metal was recovered and sold for a liquidation price of US $300 per ton. (Liquidation grade is the amount paid by the smelter or other purchaser per ton of ore mined. It accounts for transportation expenses). Also, assume that any gold byproduct , which was estimated to be 0.5 grams per metric ton, will be given to a middle man that overseas the interests of the Saudi Crown.


The volume of rock transported = 1.5 X 150 x 300 = 67500 cubic meters Since 1 cubic meter = 1000000 cubic centimeters, then 2.7 grams per cubic centimeter is equivalent to 2700 kilograms per cubic meters; the ore weighs {67500 x 2700} = 182 million kilograms. Since 2.2 pounds = 1 kg, and 2000 pounds = 1 ton; the ore weighs ((182000000) x 2.2 )/ 2000 = 200000 tons of proven ore. (Note that the proven ore is smaller than the potential reserve). But only 2.5 % is Copper = 0.025 * (20000 ) = 5000 tons of copper At 80% recovery = 0.8 x 5000 = 4 000 tons of copper At US $300/ ton = 300 x (4000) = US $1200000, (or US $ 1.2 million) At an exchange rate of Birr $ 6.5 to 1 US $ 1, this yields Birr $ 7.8 million. Thus, such a high grade ore fetches a comparatively small sum of money, and that is due to a low liquidation price. But there are many reasons why the copper ore may not be mined at all, and as such not produce a dime.

Problem 2:

In January, 1995, the Adi Rassi Cu mine was expected to earn US $7.2 million dollars a year for ten years. However, political situations dictated that production will begin in 1997. Given this, what would be the present value of Luciano Ogbaegzi's total earnings if he anticipated to make 10% share of the total investment at a 10% hazard factor? (Hint: Present value (Vp) of an annuity of 1.00 dollar a year in n years at an interest rate of r is expressed as

Vp = {(1+r) exp n)-1} / {r(1+r) exp n}


The present value in 10 years if production started in 1995 would have been,

Vp = 7200000 x ((1.10)exp 10 -1) / (0.10 x (1.10) exp10)

= $34,967,000.00.

If Luciano was told that his return would increase ten fold by investing in the mine, his cost for such an opportunity would have been about $3.5 million. However, production will not start until 1997. Moreover, from problem #1, we learn that the total revenue from the mine would come out to be US $1.2 million, a 10% of which would yield US $120,000. This is quite different from Luciano's opportunity cost of $3.5 million. In fact, Luciano may not receive a dime from the Adi Rassi mine. We shall have an appreciation of the potential reasons in the following section.

About 70 years ago, Fitawrari Derassa signed (Senai 26, 1924, E.C.) a concession from the Imperial Ethiopian Government to explore and exploit Platinum from the Birbir valley near Yubdo (Jelenc, 1965). I wander how much the Fitawrari gained?

What constitutes an orebody?

An ore is a rock or a mineral that is sought for its metallic content. For example, the metal zinc (Zn) is extracted from the mineral sphalerite (ZnS). Whether a certain amount of sphelerite in a region is an ore body or not depends on many factors that include the following 9 factors..

1. Available tonnage: As shown in problem 1, this refers to the volume of rock within which the ore is found, its density, and the appropriate grade (% metal in ore). The grade of the metal must be higher than the cut-off-grade (% metal in ore below which production costs will not be met).

2. Geochemical coherence. This relates to impurities that may be associated with an ore mineral. Some impurities increase the usefulness of a commodity. For example, cadmium admixed in sphalerite increases the usefulness of the orebody, because cadmium can be extracted at a profit as a byproduct recovery. Other impurities reduces the usefulness of a commodity. They either make the extraction process more difficult or make the metal less useful. For years, sulfur in the form of pyrite that may be associated with an ore of iron (hematite) yielded poor iron. Ethiopian metallurgists ('Aghodo awchiwoch') traditionally burnt leaves to obtain charcoal that serves as a reductant, as a way of chemically extracting iron from hematite. They did not resolve the problem of removing sulfur, if such existed in the ore deposit that they worked with. As a result, when the iron was beaten to produce an implement, sometimes the metal was friable. People mistakenly blamed the "Balejotch", whilst the problem was in the ore deposit, and the blame should have been placed on the economic geologists among them.

3. Available infrastructure: This refers to roads, railroads, and waterways that may be available for transportation, and to water and electrical supplies which are necessary for building and maintaining industrial complexes (plants) such as mining plants, metal concentration plants, and smelting plants.

Many rivers are not navigable due to partly steep river courses and water falls. Likewise, the rugged topography does not permit easy construction of horizontal railroads and railways. It is as though Ethiopia with its great electrical potential was meant to be a place of many tunnels which future generations have to construct for rapid transportation.

4. Socio-cultural matrix: This relates to the ease with which work can be performed with in a country. It is a special problem in countries like Ethiopia, where linguistic groups within a country have the potential to impede work and development. In the days of communist- professing liberation fighters most of Eritrea and Tigrey were inaccessible for mineral exploration for part of a time. Now, after, Russian Glasnost and American New World Order, the situation has deteriorated. The roots of the problems are varied, but may be described as follows.

Insufficient communication systems have not permitted a thorough mixing of Ethiopians, so that Ethiopia is a mosaic of different cultures, which when viewed in their totality might be designated as Ethiopian culture. In fact, Ethiopia is a collage of people who speak about seventy different languages and some two hundred dialects. This diversity in culture and language has its political implications, and has been used to strengthen the nation or abused to segment it into regions, particularly by foreign enemies who succeed to hire locals.

Certain regions are dominantly settled by one linguistic group. Yet within such regions there are enclaves of other ethnic groups. Thus, division into regions based on ethnicity is fraught with problems. Clearly, the desirability and necessity of multi-ethnic unity for Ethiopia cannot be overstated. However, this concept does not seem to be widely appreciated, or if appreciated there is no convincing evidence which would show that existing Ethiopian political organizations are promoting unity. Admittedly, the transitional government(TG) actually promotes ethnic division. This makes the task of appreciating the value of multi- ethnic unity all the more difficult. Beyond impulses of divide and rule, the TG adheres to a Leninist-Stalinist dogma of the so-called "question of nations, nationalities and oppressed nations". That is to say, large- population linguistic groups , e.g., Amhara, Oromo, Tigrey, etc., have been named 'nations' while small- population groups e.g., Hadeya, WWellayetta, Guraghe, etc., are named 'nationalities', and all 'nations and nationalities' are instigated to be antagonistic to the 'Amhara nation', which is designated as the 'oppressor nation'. This causes serious problems. The challenge, then, is to create a forum for discussing the widest possible spectrum of ideas, including the undertaking of an Ethiopian Glasnost.

Undoubtedly, there are inter ethnic rivalries, and claims and counter-claims of wrong doing of one by the other. These claims, which are a manifestation of economic underdevelopment, tend to be exaggerated by external and internal enemies of the country. Still, the rivalries are not intrinsically antagonistic. They actually offer opportunities for enlightened leadership to foster unity by channeling the energies of rivalries toward achieving a common goal. The Challenge is then to provide leadership.

The old saying that, " A nation is poor because it is poor" underscores the synergism of economic development. That is to say, investment is required for development. And development is intertwined with freedoms. The availability of sufficient economic opportunities for individuals has a tremendous impact on the social, cultural and political freedoms exercised in any nation, and economic opportunities are directly tied to the resources of a country.

5. Accessibility to concentrator for metallic deposit and transportation cost. At a mine site, rocks are broken to boulders, cobbles, and granules which are then transported to a concentrator plant. Here rocks are broken further to smaller pieces, and the part of the rock which contains the metallic mineral must be separated from the barren rock. This is achieved by a series of physical means of separation involving floatation, settling, adhesion, etc.

After the ore is concentrated, it is transported to a chemical separation plant at which the metal is extracted from the ore by chemical reactions involving oxidation, reduction, complexation, etc.

6. Type of mining methods: Some ore deposits are found at or near the surface, whereas others occur at depth. The means of extracting the ore deposits can thus be by open pit mining or by underground tunneling. The type of open pit mining vary from the primitive to the modern, from manual work to that which involve dynamite-blasting, loading of rock fragments on million-dollar giant tracks by electric- driven giant shovels. Similarly, the underground tunneling is of varying qualities. Thus, the cost of mining, and the efficiency of the mining technique are different in separate places.

7. Strategic consideration: Here economics is not important. An ore could be mined at a deficit if the metal is urgently needed for defense purposes for example. On the other hand, a rich deposit in one's own country may not be mined, until leaner ore deposits in other countries are completely exploited. This is a sort of game strong and powerful countries might follow. Of course, it is often said that private companies do their thing for economic purposes, i.e., profit. That is true, but it is not the whole truth. For example, a week or two after I received an invitation to prepare this report, President Clinton of America ordered the Conoco company not to continue with its multi-billion and profitable deal with Iran on the pretext that Iran is a terrorist state.

8. Available technology: Modern technology may enable extraction of ore from rocks which were discarded as uneconomical rock (gangue) by previous miners. Also, some new method of mining bypasses the need for concentrators and chemical plants. For example, an in situ (in place) extraction method can be used to mine for gold. But, modern technology maybe wrong for remote regions with insufficient infrastructure.

9. Price: the price of any commodity depends on demand and supply, as well as on politics. To ensure employment opportunities, or as a tactic of reducing or increasing prices, governments acting singly or as a group can modify the price of a commodity.

The governance and political climate of any nation and the ambient international conditions greatly affect the value of any natural resource. For example, at the time of this writing, the value of Iraqi oil is close to zero due to a United Nations' sanction. It is as if Iraq has no oil. In the early seventies, the oil cartel continuously raised the value of a barrel of oil, and Iraq benefited quite a lot at that time. It follows that predicting future national and international political and economic conditions and adjusting one's economy to those political conditions is key to maximizing the value of natural resources. In fact, an attempt to predict future political relations can help to tune up the current ones, and thereby avert or forestall catastrophic results.

Internal relationships between and among agencies, groups of people and individuals, and relationships with other nations should be periodically examined for proper governance. All relationships are not static. Many are dynamic and they change temporally and spatially. While forecasting future conditions and adjusting to them can be quite difficult, it nonetheless is absolutely futile to maintain the governance of any nation in response to past conditions and realities. In the early seventies, the Imperial Ethiopian government could not adjust to conditions imposed by rising prices of imported oil. That inability contributed to its demise. In the late eighties and in 1990 the Derg could not adjust to the weakening and disappearance of communist forces of Eurasia. That inability contributed to its demise. In both regimes the internal relationships were so bad that the governments could not withstand external pressures although such pressures did not include a military invasion.

Unfortunately, the internal relationships in current day Ethiopia are bad indeed, and the implications are quite obvious. In terms of mineral economics, such conditions would raise the opportunity cost relative to the returns of any mine in Ethiopia. If any revenues were to be gained by the country, the proved reserve would have to be quite large, the grade of the ore very high, and the opportunity cost for investors ridiculously low.


Many challenges that ought to be addressed have already been incorporated in the body of the text. I just want to mention the salient points that perhaps should be emphasized.

It has never been true that we cannot go from here to anywhere. However, the going is going to be tough in particular due to the internal division that is systematically planted by the TGE. Development of exploration strategies and identification of reserves should be done on a continuing basis. However, I wouldn't emphasize on exploitation of economic mineral commodities in this troubled times. Rather, emphasis should be placed on exploitation of geothermal energy, afforestation of drainage basins, and improvement of agricultural methodologies. The greater need is to enlighten the populace about the particular ailment of our times. This may be done by applying Glasnost to the adherents of Leninist-Stalinist element of the society, and by gathering the intelligentsia under a broad umbrella of a unifying entity. Failure to seize the moment, and unleash the powers of logic and know how of the enlightened intelligentsia, might permit diehard nationalists to divide Ethiopia into enclaves of influence of contradictory and antagonistic purposes.


Jelenc, D, 1965. Mineral Occurrences of Ethiopia: Ministry of Mines, Addis Ababa, 720.p.

McKelvey, V. E. 1973, Mineral Resources Estimates and Public Policy: Geol. Survey Prof. paper 820, pp. 9-19.