A Round-Up of News Articles on the Threat of New Eritrea Mining Sanction – Updated

Development News

The following are a round-up of different news articles that are developed as a result of the latest Ethiopia drafted, Gabon and Nigeria co-sponsored DRAFT UN resolution that called for a complete ban on all mining companies investing in Eritrea as well  imposes an import ban on minerals from Eritrea. Very Shameful and unforgivable! 

UN Security Council May Drain Asmara’s Key Revenue Sources

Gabon and Nigeria are seeking a sweeping UN economic sanction on Eritrea on behest of US and Ethiopia. Shame on You!

By Daily Ethiopia,

Crafted by Gabon and co-sponsored by Nigeria, a new draft resolution that would deplete the Eritrean government from key sources of income has been tabled for negotiation at the fifteen-member United Nations Security Council early this week as tougher sanctions against Asmara proves inevitable.


Approved on July 4 at the heads of state meeting, the main driver for the draft resolution is the Eastern Africa bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Other than the arrest of the two vital incomes for Asmara regime-mining and Diaspora tax- the draft also seek to have any country and international financial and credit institutions not enter into new commitments for grants or assistance or loan with Eritrea unless it is only for humanitarian and development purposes. It also reiterates the call on Eritrea and members countries to observe the previously put sanctions including arms embargo.

Three month stalemate since IGAD’s call finally came to an end when Gabon-one of the three African members in the Security Council- picked up the issue and crafted the resolution as per IGAD proposals.

The draft resolution was circulated by Gabon on Friday, 14 October, and is being co-sponsored by Nigeria.

The UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea reported that the Eritrean government planned a failed massive attack on an African Union in Addis Ababa and “if executed as planned, the operation would almost certainly have caused mass civilian casualties, damaged the Ethiopian economy and disrupted the African Union summit”.

Experts say ever since the report, the Security Council members have been waiting for proposals to come from African members who apparently were initially reluctant to take up the matter. However, it appears that all three of them now support the draft that has been circulated although South Africa is not a co-sponsor.


Asmara has lately adopted a new tone towards its neighbors. President Isaias Afwerki on a rare appearance at the UN annual General Debate even praised IGAD and vowed to return to the grouping after suspending its membership since 2007. This however failed to change IGAD’s mind on the new sanctions as the bloc remains skeptical of the latest moves by Asmara regime.

According to pundits, for weeks the Eritrean Permanent Representative Araya Desta has been putting a lot of effort at the Security Council especially to convince Gabon’s Permanent Representative Nelson Messone abandon the task of preparing the draft.

Messone over the last days was speaking to Security Council member’s ambassadors one by one in preparation of the draft.

Calling it “a hostile campaign by Ethiopia” Eritrean diplomats have been trying to preempt the move and wrote to the Security Council denying any involvement in the failed plot to bomb the African Union.

Eritrea would have no interest in disrupting a Summit of the African Union, precisely at the time that it was fruitfully engaging with its sisterly African countries and when it had just reopened its mission in Addis Ababa and was participating in the Summit for the first time after a long absence. Nor is it reckless or stupid to contemplate such a hideous attack,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea in a 53-page document issued titled Eritrea’s Response to the Report of the Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group Report.

In this document Eritrea says the “bombing plot” could be a fabrication of Ethiopia: “Eritrea does not give any credence to Ethiopia’s allegation that there was indeed any plot to bomb Addis Ababa during the AU Summit.

The reply went on quoting recently released WikiLeaks documents that claimed an Ethiopian opposition leader told US Embassy in Addis Ababa that a series of explosions that occurred in Addis Ababa in September 2006 may have been the work of the Government of Ethiopia security forces though it was blamed on the separatist group Oromo Liberation Front and Eretria.

In their reply, Eritrea does not only dismiss the report that was based for the making of the tougher sanctions but also calls on the Security Council to lift the existing sanctions. It also calls the Security Council to see “an end its illegal occupation of Eritrean territory and stop its destabilization of the Horn of Africa region.’


According to diplomats, there is consensus among the Security Council members that there is a need to put tougher sanctions against Eretria. How tough it should be however needs much wheeling and dealing.

The draft resolution circulated by Gabon is a zero draft- it a first draft and it is basically what IGAD spearheaded by Ethiopia wants to so see adopted. It is however very likely that negotiations among the Security Council members lead to changes including substantive ones,” one diplomat told Capital on Thursday.

Ethiopian diplomats have been extensively lobbying for the resolution over the past few months. Senior officials including Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his deputy Berhane Gebrekristos made trips to New York to urge the Security Council members to ‘OK’ the resolution at its eventual arrival.

We [as IGAD] have discussed with all the members of the Security Council and this has clearly showed us that they will support the sanctions,” Hailemariam said three weeks ago in a Capital interview.

While securing a sponsor among the three African countries including from Nigeria, president of the Security Council this month, was a hard fought success for Ethiopian diplomats, experts say the journey is half complete.

Gabon and Nigeria are clearly on board but what about South Africa? That may concern the other members. This could weaken the IGAD proposal though none of the five permanent members are expected to veto down the draft resolution even votes were to be casted today,” one Western diplomat commented to Capital on Wednesday.

A source close to the Ethiopian Mission says Ethiopia is confident that South Africa will support the proposal. “South Africa actually announced in a consultation held early this week that it is in total agreement with the two other African countries. It said it expects the draft to go through changes and that is the only why it cannot be a cosponsor at this time. So generally their support is in the bag though they may demand some amendments for it.”

Experts say the draft is enjoying a wider support among the Security Council members especially from the Western countries, led by the United States. The United States is currently strengthening ties with Ethiopia, including opening a military facility inside Ethiopia, to fight the Somalia based al-Shabab, which Eritrea allegedly supports.

China and Russia may be reluctant to see the passage of the draft in its current entirely; the experts say. To accommodate these countries, at least not to face their objections that would kill any resolution as they are two the five permanent members with veto powers, the resolution could be watered down. However, IGAD countries are expected to fight to keep the key element of the resolution – a ban on Eritrea mining sector and Diaspora taxincluded in the final draft to be voted.

After the Libya resolution whose implementation proved controversial and also the latest double vetoing of China and Russia against a Western backed resolution concerning Syria, there is tension in the Security Council and how it works is pretty difficult to read. So it is any body’s guess when a vote on the Eritrean resolution would be called,” the diplomat said.

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Nevsun Resources, the Eritrea-focused gold miner that dropped 17% on Wednesday on fears proposed sanctions for the Horn of Africa state would harm its business, said this week the move would not likely be successful and would “starve the people of Eritrea literally and economically”.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that the UN was considering a draft resolution that Gabon tabled seeking to ban mineral imports from the country and foreign investment in it.

According to the report, Gabon was seeking tougher sanctions as retaliation for Eritrea’s alleged support of Islamist rebels in Somalia, which the country denies.

Gabon and Nigeria are sponsors of the draft resolution, and both countries, which met with US president Barrack Obama on Wednesday in Washington, are due to roll off their United Nations Security Council appointments at the end of 2011, Nevsun said.

The company owns 60% of the Bisha gold mine in north-western Eritrea, which produced over 278 000 oz so far this year, with the State-owned Enamco holding the rest.

Nevsun believes that economic sanctions are unlikely to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council,” the TSX-listed miner said in a statement to Mining Weekly Online, adding it understood the draft proposal had not yet been debated at the UNSC level.

Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in the world and economic sanctions will simply starve the people of Eritrea literally and economically.”

The nation, bordered by Sudan, Ehtiopia and Djibouti, gained its independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Eritrea’s estimated $3.6-billion GDP in 2010 ranks it the 169th poorest country globally, with half its population living below the poverty line in 2004.

The day after reports of the UN draft surfaced, Nevsun’s share price plummeted by 17% to close the session at C$4.61 apiece.

The stock has since edged up to C$4.73, with analysts saying the selloff was overdone.

We would be surprised to see the UN take formal actions (sanctions) that would impact the country’s fragile economy, which is just starting to show signs of positive change,” Haywood Securities analyst Stefan Ioannou wrote on Wednesday, adding that Nevsun’s share price decline offered buying opportunity.

He gave the stock an C$8.00 target price, the same as Canaccord analyst Rahul Paul, who said that, while risk remained, Nevsun had been oversold.

We see low odds of current proposed UN sanctions being passed, since they would amount to shutting down the economy of one of the world’s poorest countries,” Paul noted.

TSX- and ASX-listed Chalice Gold, which owns the Koka project in Eritrea, did not respond to a request for comment from Mining Weekly Online.

That company’s share price has lost around 8% on the Australian bourse this week.

Nevsun has long touted the positive economic impacts Bisha has had for Eritrea.

By collaborating with international companies, Eritrea is developing a mining industry that will bring direct and indirect benefits to the people of the country,” it said.

Through these cooperative efforts, sustainable development from the industry can positively impact the Eritrean economy for decades to come.”

In August, Nevsun announced it had reached an agreement with Eritrea that Enamco would pay $253-million for its 30% stake in Bisha, after it received a 10% free-carry interest.

Chalice said in a September presentation that it aims to start production at Koka in 2013, averaging 104 000 oz/y over seven years.

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UN Draft Resolution Would Hit Eritrea Mining

By Patrick Worsnip (Reuters),

Mining companies would be banned from investing in Eritrea’s potentially booming minerals sector under a draft U.N. resolution that Security Council members are due to start negotiating on Tuesday.

The council is weighing the investment ban, as well as an import ban on Eritrean minerals and other measures to add to existing sanctions against the Horn of Africa state in retaliation for Eritrea’s alleged support of Islamist rebels in Somalia. Eritrea denies supporting the rebels.

But diplomats said some of the toughest provisions in the proposed resolution, which has been drafted by Gabon, faced opposition from some members of the 15-nation council, meaning the final text could be watered down.

Proposals by an East African bloc to toughen sanctions on Eritrea have been stalled for three months as the search went on for an African state sitting on the Security Council to sponsor them.

The Inter Governmental Authority on Development, or IGAD, which groups seven East African states, called in July for more sanctions to hit the Eritrean mining sector and remittances.
Eritrea has blamed its rival Ethiopia, from which it split away in 1993, for the drive. In a letter this month to the council it urged the body to “reject Ethiopia’s current hostile campaign” and immediately lift all sanctions against it.

The new draft, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, says that “all states shall prohibit investment by their nationals, persons subject to their jurisdiction and firms incorporated in their territory or subject to their jurisdiction in the extractive industries and mining sectors in Eritrea.”

It also says all states shall prohibit the import of gold and other raw materials from Eritrea.


The draft also seeks to block payment of a 2%diaspora tax” on their incomes that Eritreans working abroad are expected to pay to their local Eritrean embassy.

Eritrea is seen as being on the brink of a minerals boom that could revive its struggling economy. Remittances that it receives from its large diaspora in the West and Middle East are its biggest source of foreign exchange.

The country’s most advanced mining project, Bisha, believed to contain gold, copper and zinc, is run by Canada’s Nevsun Resources Ltd. Earlier this year, Eritrea granted Australia’s Chalice Gold Mines two new exploration licenses in a nearby location.

The fresh sanctions drive follows a report by a U.N. monitoring group in July that found Eritrea continues to provide political, financial, training and logistical support to al Shabaab and other armed groups in Somalia.

Eritrea has denied repeatedly that it funds and arms the Islamist al Shabaab but the accusation prompted the Security Council in 2009 to impose an arms embargo, asset freeze and travel ban on leaders and firms in Eritrea.

The new resolution would add more individuals and organizations to those already under sanctions. But council diplomats suggested it could be toned down.

Council members are generally well-disposed towards a strengthening of the Eritrea sanctions regime but several cannot accept the most substantive elements of the draft, particularly those that amount to sweeping economic sanctions,” one diplomat said.

However, the key point is to target the regime and its destabilizing activities in the region and it should be possible to find consensus on measures that achieve that.”  The diplomat did not identify the countries that were objecting but China and Russia typically are cautious about sanctions.
– – –

Possible UN Ban of Eritrea Mines ‘Defies Logic’

By Metalbuletin.com,

A UN draft resolution that would ban mining companies from investing in Eritrea and impose an import ban on minerals from the country has come under fire by operators inside the country, branding the paper illogical.

It’s not logical,” said Chalice Gold Mines’ executive chairman, Tim Goyder, whose company is developing the Zara gold mine in Eritrea and has eight more exploration licences.

On the one hand the UN wants to fight poverty in the East African region, driving development in countries like Eritrea, but then on the other hand impose sanctions that would achieve quite the opposite.” He added that he thought the draft paper was “politically driven by the antagonism between Ethiopia and Eritrea.”
– – –

Shares of Nevsun Resources Fall to a New 52-Week Low

By Mollory Stone,

Nevsun Resources (AMEX:NSU) traded at a new 52-week low today of $4.39. This new low was reached on above average trading volume as 2 million shares traded hands, while the average 30-day volume is approximately 734,000 shares.

There is potential upside of 63.6% for shares of Nevsun Resources based on a current price of $4.81 and an average consensus analyst price target of $7.87. Nevsun Resources shares should first meet resistance at the 200-day moving average (MA) of $6.04 and find additional resistance at the 50-day MA of $6.11.

Nevsun Resources Ltd. is a gold producer and base metal developer. The Company has a gold-copper-zinc mine in Eritrea.

In the past 52 weeks, Nevsun Resources share prices have been bracketed by a current low of $4.39 and a high of $7.75 and are now at $4.81. Over the last five market days, the 200-day moving average (MA) has gone down 0.5% while the 50-day MA has remained constant.
– – –

Nevsun’s Share Plunged 18%

By Bloomberg,

Nevsun Resources Ltd. plunged 18 percent.

The producer of base and precious metals in Africa slipped as Eritrea faces tougher United Nations sanctions that would ban companies from investing in the African country’s mineral resources such as gold.

– – –

Obama Welcomes Gabon and Nigeria Presidents at the White House

By VOA News,

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Gabon’s President Ali Ben Bongo to root out corruption and protect human rights in the West African country.

Mr. Obama met with Mr. Bongo at the White House Thursday, despite questions about alleged corruption in Mr. Bongo’s family and government.

The White House said Mr. Obama welcomed reforms that Gabon has taken under Mr. Bongo to bring more transparency and accountability to government.

Earlier, the White House again defended Mr. Obama’s decision to meet with the Gabonese president. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Gabon has been a helpful partner in dealing with Ivory Coast, Libya, and Iran, and supported the United States on issues dealing with human rights.

Carney said it would be naive to expect Mr. Obama to avoid leaders with questionable human rights records.

The White House said the two leaders discussed a wide range of multilateral and regional issues, including security, environmental protection and the economy.

Gabon holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month.

President Obama met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

A statement said Mr. Obama congratulated Mr. Jonathan on the success of Nigeria’s recent elections, which came off more peacefully than the country’s previous polls.
He also called on Mr. Jonathan to make fighting corruption a national priority.

Nigeria has a history of graft among top officials. The country’s former speaker of parliament was arrested on charges of misappropriating government funds earlier this week.

[Editor’s Note: Almost ten days after his an unannounced visit to Addis Ababa, Nigerian president pledged to support Gabon’s dictator to co-sponsor the crazy economic sanction against Eritrea. Immediately the next day, Wednesday, Nigerian president ‘Badluck’ Jonathan flew to White house to get the smile promised by Obama for the job well done. The next day, Thursday, the Gabonese baboon met the inept US president to get his share of the promised privileges for successfully tabling the crippling DRAFT resolution to the council. Welcome to be part of Eritrea’s history. John Foster Dallas, Uganda and now Gabon with Nigeria. We won’t forget it!]

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Morocco and Togo to Replace [the Useless] Nigeria and Gabon in UNSC

By UN News Center,

Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo will serve as non-permanent members of the 15-member Security Council in 2012-13 after winning their seats during elections held earlier today at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

But a fifth vacant seat, which is allocated to an Eastern European country, remains unfilled after no country passed the necessary threshold during nine rounds of voting.
Guatemala received 191 votes and was duly elected to the Latin America and Caribbean seat, Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser announced after the conclusion of the first round of voting this morning.

Morocco received 151 votes and Pakistan received 129 votes in the first round, which means they were elected to two of the three seats allocated to Africa and the Asia-Pacific. Morocco has served twice previously on the Council – in 1963-64 and again in 1992-93. Pakistan has served on six previous occasions, most recently in 2003-04.

In a third round of voting, Togo obtained 131 votes, above the two-thirds threshold, and was therefore elected. Mauritania received 61 votes. It will be the second time in its history that Togo has served on the Security Council, with the first stint taking place in 1982-83.

Today’s elections were held to replace the departing members of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.

The new members will join Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa, whose terms end on 31 December 2012, and the five permanent Council members, which each wield the power of veto – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

[To be updated continuously…. please visit this page from time to time to follow for more simillar news round-ups]