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Investement Opportunities PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 31 October 2008

The future of Eritrea’s mining industry appears bright. The prospective geology of the area and the recent discoveries of Bisha, Emba Derho and others together with an attractive and competitive investment regime makes Eritrea one of the most attractive and rewarding mining investment opportunities.

Results of the exploration activities conducted in the last ten years have proved the high mineral potential of the country, and that investing in Eritrea is rewarding. Although all areas of exploration are potentially prospective, the following are believed to be more so for investment.

Gold Prospects in South-Western and Western Eritrea

The south-western part of Eritrea is one of the most prospective gold regions in the country. It contains hundreds of small historic mines and operations that were active during the Italian occupation including the Augaro mines which was reportedly the most productive mine in Eritrea. There are also areas where artisanal gold mining is currently being undertaken by the local people. Most of these mineral showings and historical mines and old workings are associated with rocks of: the Augaro-Antore belt and Bisha VMS and Hykota-Fanco belts.

Deposits in the Augaro-Antore Belt

The Augaro-Antore belt is situated in the southeastern part of Western Lowlands of Eritrea. It stretches from the border in the south to the Barka River to the north where its extension is masked by intrusions. Localities known for gold in the lower Augaro-Antore belt include Augaro, Damishoba, Dase, Tokombia, Ranyo and Doboro. The Augaro mine appears to have been developed on a series of quartz veins and stringers, some showing sulphide mineralisation and formed in a low-pressure region associated with a regional shear zone. The mineralised system is known to extend for a distance of 2,900 metres, of which only about 350 metres was mined. The main quartz vein, about 240 metres long, and having an average width of 10 metres, ends in a stockwork of stringers. The main en-echelon system extends over a strike length of 300 metres with widths of 20 – 30 metres. The recovered gold grade is reported to have been 30 – 40 grams per tonne and production during the periods 1933 – 1941 and 1955 – 1956 is recorded at 874 kg, although it is widely believed that the actual production was greatly in excess of this estimate. The mine was closed in 1941 due to war and all its mining equipment was removed. It was re-opened briefly in 1955 to re-treat the tailings. Other interesting localities in this belt that reached production include Damishoba, Dase, and Ranyo. Doboro, Tokombia and several others were still at the development stage, involving pitting and underground exploration, when the Italian occupation ended in 1941. In the southern part of the belt operations at Antore and Damanoshila, and in the eastern zone of the Berbere River, all were at various stages of development before the Second World War. In the northern part of the belt, at Suzena, prospecting started in 1932, and mining was carried out from 1937 – 40. Drift on three levels were developed, but work was abandoned on the fourth level due to water problems.

Gold has also been discovered by the local artisanal miners at a number of places in recent times. These are indications of the high gold potential of the area.

Deposits in the Bisha VMS Belt

Based on regional works and satellite image interpretation, the Bisha VMS and associated volcanosedimentary belt is estimated to have a maximum width of about 30 kms and extends for more than 100 kms to the south, while its northern extension is not clear. This belt is believed to be highly prospective and may continue for a substantial distance to the north as well as to the south. In addition, records of past exploration in this area indicate that quartz veins with varying gold contents have been reported from some locations including Okere (Okreb). Some of these were prospected and exploited before mining stopped due to WWII.

Gold & Base Metal Prospects in Southern Eritrea

There are indications of the continuity of the Asmara/Debarwa VMS belt for long distance to the south.Outcrops are known of gossanous rocks, exhalatives and rock assemblages (felsic and mafic) such as those of the Debarwa area, in the Ketina area. There are also many places where local people are conducting artisanal mining. The area west of Ketina could represent another belt of mineralization, as there are areas of recently discovered artisanal workings south of Monsura area, that are its northern extension.

Gold & Base Metal mineralisation in Northern Eritrea

There are indications of gold and base metal mineralization in several parts of northern Eritrea. Old workings and prospects, of Italian time are found in Seroa and Arruba in Harab Suit. There is a Cu-mineralization along a belt that passes through Raba and Semait areas where old workings are found. Gossanous rocks running for hundreds of metres occur in Halibet area farther north.

Recent exploration activities and the work of artisanal miners in Zara and other areas to the north is indicating the presence of auriferous quartz veins and stock works in many areas in this part of the country.

In conclusion, it can be said that mineralization in most part of the country is not well studied. It may be far more complex and extensive than is apparent. The level of technology and understanding of mineralization styles that prevailed during the Italian occupation was low, and most of the historic mines and old mining operations in Eritrea were interrupted because of the Second World War. The investment climate that existed at the time of the struggle for independence that followed was also not conducive to the development of these operations. It is therefore, no doubt that this part of the region has great potential to be well endowed with mineral deposits.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 October 2009 )
 
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