ERITREAN President Issayas Afeworki is pushing for the rapid development of mining projects, without taking too much notice of the conclusions of a recent report by the United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea (ESMG).
This report nevertheless singled out Hagos Gebrethiwet Maesho (known as Hagos Kisha), the director of economic affairs of the country’s ruling party, People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).
It suspects him of setting up “complex financial structures” that enable the Eritrean government to use revenue from the mining sector to finance the PFDJ and even to support military activity that “could constitute a violation of resolution 1907”.
This resolution was passed by the United Nations Security Council in December 2009; it decreed a variety of restrictions against the regime of Asmara and its leaders.
This warning by the UN is not likely to slow down the Eritrean mining boom for the time being.
Zara Mining Share Co, a joint venture between the State-owned Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO) and the Shanghai Corporation for Foreign Economic & Technological Cooperation, will begin working its gold deposits by the end of the year.
The feasibility studies of the Colluli Mining Share Company, which is owned in equal shares by ENAMCO and South Boulder Mines Ltd, are expected to be completed by mid-2015.
Finally, Andiamo Exploration will begin production in 2016, as will Shanghai Construction Group Co. in partnership with the Canadian company Sunridge Gold Corporation.
Moreover, there had been no reaction from any mining investor when mining and energy minister Ahmed Haj Ali was sacked last year for having ties with dissidents in the Eritrean army, and replaced by the defence minister Sebhat Ephrem.