Urgent Plea to Halt Mining Exploration Licenses in Tigray

Mekelle:  18 March 2024 (Tigray Herald)

By Yerga Yaecobe

Urgent Plea to Halt Mining Exploration Licenses in Tigray

Dear Government of Tigray and TDF Leadership,

We urgently call on you to immediately cease all mining exploration licenses in Tigray by any necessary means. The ongoing exploitation of gold, sapphires, copper, limestone, marble, and other minerals by criminal groups poses a grave threat to the survival of Tigray.

In light of the tragic lessons learned from mining-led conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in mass displacement and ongoing violence, we implore you to act swiftly to prevent a similar fate in Tigray. Post-genocide Tigray is vulnerable to illicit mining operations orchestrated by criminal gangs and state capture actors.

To address this critical issue, we propose a comprehensive strategy:


Immediate Halt: Urgently cease all mining activities in Tigray until territorial integrity is restored, law and order are fully established, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) can safely return home, including the full implementation of the Pretoria peace agreement.

International Cooperation: Seek support from international human rights organizations, including the United Nations, Genocide Watch, the US, EU, and UK, to monitor and enforce a ban on mining activities until stability is regained.

Regulatory Reforms: Implement stringent regulatory reforms to ensure transparent and accountable mining practices, adhering to international best practices to prevent exploitation.

Transparency and Accountability: Establish robust mechanisms for transparency in the mining sector, including the publication of contracts, revenue flows, and environmental impact assessments. Hold accountable those responsible for any malpractices.

Audit and Investigation: Conduct a thorough audit of existing mining operations, ensuring accountability for any illegal activities. Collaborate with international bodies to investigate and prosecute those involved in criminal exploitation.

Community Engagement: Involve local communities in decision-making processes regarding mining activities, ensuring equitable sharing of mining benefits to foster socio-economic development.

Security Measures: Enhance security measures to curb the influence of criminal groups and state capture actors involved in illegal mining operations.

Environmental Safeguards: Prioritize environmental protection by implementing sustainable mining practices, minimizing ecological impact, and rehabilitating affected areas.

Learning from the DRC: The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s experience highlights the severe consequences of unchecked mining expansion, leading to escalating violence and mass displacement. Tigray must take decisive and immediate action to avoid replicating this scenario.

This appeal is a  crucial to act swiftly and decisively to avert the looming threat to Tigray’s stability. By adopting these strategic measures, Tigray can position itself as a responsible steward of its natural resources, safeguarding the well-being of its people and avoiding the tragic consequences witnessed in other regions.
  this document. Kindly disseminate it to all Tigray civic organizations and media outlets to garner support and awareness. Time is of the essence, and only through collective effort can we safeguard Tigray’s future.

With special attention to Tigray President Getachew Reda, Colonial Teweled Geberetensay, Head of the TDF Intelligence Service, and the Head of Tigray Mining License Authorities.

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