The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP)

ASM Legislation and Regulations

Ethiopia has a stable legal and regulatory framework in place for the artisanal and small scale mining. This section provides an overview of the relevant laws and regulations governing the ASM sector.


The MoMP issues two types of mining license that relate to artisanal mining. They are :

  1. An Artisanal Mining License
  2. A Special Small Scale Mining License

 Information about how to apply for these licenses is found here.

An Artisanal Mining License is issued either to an individual or a small or micro enterprise whose mining operation is mostly manual and does not involve employed workers. It is exclusive, non-renewable and is issued for a maximum of 2 years.
A Special Small Scale Mining License is issued to holders of an artisanal mining license who now have the capacity to employ machinery in their mining operations. A Special Small Scale Mining License is exclusive, and is only issued to holders of an Artisanal Mining License. It is initially issued for 10 years, after which it needs to be renewed every 5 years.

The 2013 amendment to the Mining Operations proclamation first introduced the Special Small Scale Mining License, and, at the same time, reduced the maximum period for an Artisanal Mining License from 9 years down to 2 years.

These changes encourage Artisanal miners to see ASM as a stepping stone to other economic activities, rather than a final destination, and to encourage them to upgrade their operation to a higher level of mechanization and increase productivity.

More detail can be found in Mining Operation Proclamation.

Royalties and taxes

Holders of an Artisanal or Special Small Scale License are required to pay both royalties and income tax at levels that are determined by laws of the Regional State in which their license is issued.

We would ask holders of such licenses to contact the relevant Regional State official to determine the amounts they are required to pay in royalties and income taxes.

Environmental Impact Assessment, Rehabilitation Fund and Community

Applicants for an Artisanal Mining License are not required to submit an environmental impact assessment. However, Artisanal Mining License holders wishing to upgrade to a Special Small Scale Mining License after their two year limit expires, are required to do so.

Holders of Artisanal Mining License applying for a Special Small Scale License will also have to allocate funds to cover the costs of rehabilitating the environment affected by their activities. They will also need to participate in planning community development initiatives with the local community within the license area, and allocate funds to pay for these initiatives. These requirements do not apply to applicants for an Artisanal Mining License.

More detail can be found in Mining Operation Proclamation and Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation.

Environmental Management for Artisanal Miners

While applicants are not required to submit and Environmental Impact Assessment, their activities do tend to have a negative impact on the local environment, which then has a negative impact on their own communities.

The MoMP has taken steps to lessen the environmental impact of Artisanal mining by providing a set of guidelines for artisanal miners, local communities surrounding artisanal mining sites and licensing authorities.

The Environmental Guidelines will help artisanal miners become aware of the potential dangers of their activities and help them mine in a more sustainable way. It will also improve the management of the Artisanal mining sector by providing the licensing authorities with a clear set of checks and balances.