Mining License in Ethiopia: Types, Procedures and Regulations

A person is required to obtain a license to engage in mining activity in Ethiopia. Mineral operation licenses are issued by the Federal Ministry of Mines and the Mines Bureaus of Regional States.

The Ministry of Mines issues reconnaissance, exploration, retention and mining licenses for large scale and small scale mining operations. The Mineral Licensing and Administration Core Process is the division responsible to receive and process applications and regulate the mineral operations of the licensees.

The Mines Bureaus of National Regional States issue artisanal mining licenses (artisanal mining license is granted to a mining operation carried out by individuals or cooperatives), reconnaissance, exploration and retention licenses with respect to construction and industrial minerals, small scale mining licenses for industrial minerals, large scale mining licenses for construction mineral.

There are 5 types of mining licenses issued by the Ministry of Mines: reconnaissance; exploration; retention; large scale mining license and small scale mining license.

Large scale mining license

This requires approved work plan, Environmental Impact Assessment, access to financial resources and technical ability. This type of mining license is valid for a period not exceeding 20 years and can be renewed for a period not exceeding 10 years.

Small scale mining license

The licensing authority grant an exclusive small scale license to an applicant fulfilling the following requirements; approved work plan , accesses to financial resources, and approved Environmental Impact Assessment. Small scale mining license is valid for a period not exceeding 10 years and it is renewable for a period not exceeding 5 years.

Reconnaissance license

For a general search of any mineral, a non exclusive reconnaissance license is granted where the work program does not involve any geological work that would result in the disturbance of the surface of the earth. A reconnaissance license is valid for a duration that does not exceed 18 months and it is not renewable.

Exploration license

Exclusive exploration license is granted by the Authority where the applicant has acquired access to finance resources, technical ability to conduct the proposed exploration and approved Environmental Impact Assessment. Exploration license is valid for an initial period not exceeding three years. It can be renewed twice for a period not exceeding one year each. However, extension is allowed in exceptional circumstance for a period not exceeding five years. Holder of an exploration license has a right to apply for a retention license mining license.

Retention license

The authority grant an exclusive retention license where the applicant demonstrated that the discovery of a mineral deposit within the exploration area, which is potential of commercial significance and the mineral deposit cannot be developed immediately because of adverse market conditions, or other economic factors or unavailable processing technologies. A retention license is valid for a period not exceeding three years and can be renewed once for a period not exceeding three years.

Ministry of Mines, Mining License and Administration
Tel. +251 11 6461214
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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