ADDIS ABEBA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- Ethiopia's mining sector has recently emerged as one of the major priority investment areas among potential Chinese investors amid the Ethiopian government's efforts to attract foreign firms in the extraction of the country's abundant mineral resources, an Ethiopian official said Monday.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Ethiopia's State Minister of Mining and Petroleum, Assefa Kumsa, said that as the Ethiopian government invites experienced foreign companies to invest in the mining sector, a growing number of Chinese investors seek to penetrate in the exploration and production of the East African country's untapped mineral and natural-gas resources.
"As Chinese firms' engagement in Ethiopia's overall investment landscape augmented in recent years, the mining sector has become a priority investment potential for potential Chinese businesses, garnering tremendous interest and capital," Kumsa told Xinhua on Monday.
According to Kumsa, dozens of Chinese firms have been recently awarded licenses in the exploration and production of various mineral resources across mineral-rich parts of Ethiopia.
Minerals such as gold, iron-ore, various types of precious stones, chemicals, oil and natural gas, as well as construction inputs are among the mineral resources in which Chinese firms are presently exerting their capital and technology in Ethiopia, according to the state minister.
Among the Chinese companies that have recently entered in Ethiopia's mining sector is Tanaramu Chemical Industrial Plc., which inked a 12-year contract accord with the Ethiopian Ministry of Mining and Petroleum late last week to embark on the production of Bromine chemical resource in Ethiopia.
According to the agreement that was signed in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, the Chinese firm will invest 57 million U.S. dollars in Ethiopia's mineral-rich eastern Afar regional state, where an abundant reserve of Bromine -a chemical element used as an ingredient for ares including agricultural chemicals and chemical intermediates -is said to be at hand.
Officials from Tanaramu Chemical Industrial Plc. told Xinhua that the Company "will start production within the coming one year period."
Robins Jiang, a manager of the company, said that Ethiopia's "untapped potential and resources" in the mining sector easily attracts potential investors from China and beyond with the help of the East African country's rich working-force, with a population of 100 million.
Jiang commended the Ethiopian government for introducing various incentives to foreign companies to penetrate in the mining as well as various other sectors.
Wang Peilin, another official with Tanarmu, told Xinhua that the Ethiopian government has given "great emphasis to ease procedures for foreign investors," adding "this gives us a great confidence to expand our business in the coming years."
"In the long run, our company envisaged to further expand its business in the chemical industry with investment opportunities in Ethiopia's growing list of industrial parks," Wang said.
Ethiopia has different types of mineral resources, ranging from gold, platinum, potash, to iron, oil and gas reserve.
In February this year, governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti had contracted a Chinese firm, Poly-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings Limited (Poly-GCL), to construct the 767 km Ethiopia-Djibouti natural gas pipeline.
The agreement with the Chinese company is expected to help Ethiopia generate 1 billion U.S. dollars annually from extraction of natural gas and crude oil deposits following the discovery of 7 to 8 billion cubic trillion feet of natural gas by Poly-GCL in Ethiopia's eastern Somali region.