Ethiopia has cancelled 27 idle mining licences and sent warnings to three companies, the mines ministry said on Friday, as the government looks to spur production.
Ethiopia has now cancelled 90 mining licences, including 63 it revoked in December.
"Following a re-investigation, 27 mining companies that had been licensed to operate in the mining sector but failed to enter into operation have had their licenses revoked and three miners have been immediately warned to correct their mistakes," the ministry said in a statement.
The licences will be opened up to international tender, mines minister Takele Uma told Reuters.
Ethiopia has been pushing to develop its mineral and metal resources, citing mining as a key sector in its economic reform agenda.
GOLD EXPORTS SURGE
Ethiopia has exported gold worth $504.73 million over the past ten months, the ministry added, up from exports worth $90.3 million in the fiscal year to end-June 2020.
Takele attributed the rise to efforts to bring artisanal miners into the formal market.
Around 75% of the gold exports this year have come from artisanal miners encouraged to sell to state-controlled buying centres, Takele said.
"We've been formalising, and increasing the production and the productivity," he said.
Gold prices have also risen, likely boosting the number of subsistence miners, according to analysts.