The Ministry of Mines, according to the Reporter, has embarked on a new plan to replace imports of metal and metal goods. The import substitution will take place “in five or less than five years,” as per Mines Minister Takele Uma (Eng.), because “it is a very crucial and sensitive decision.”
POSCO, a South Korean iron mining company, was invited on board by the Ministry to provide technical assistance, knowledge sharing, and human capital development, among other things. POSCO is willing to assist Ethiopia in mining, particularly iron mining, and steel production.
Apart from POSCO, Turkish, Chinese, Russian, and Italian mining corporations have expressed interest, according to the reporter. However, because the capital requirement is so high, these corporations are looking to partner with the Ethiopian government to engage in iron mining. As per a study undertaken by the Metal Industry Development Institute, an iron processing and steel manufacturing industry might be worth up to USD 14.5 billion (MIDI).
Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), a Chinese company, did a pre-feasibility study on iron mining in Ethiopia and concluded that there are insufficient reserves. importing iron ore and processing it locally was considered a viable option. However, the Minister told the reporter that there is enough iron ore in the country and that there is no need to import it.
Ethiopia has been spending USD 5.3 billion on average for the past decade to import basic metal products.
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