A mining concession in Borena zone of Oromia Regional State, operated by Web Gemstone Mining Plc, was vandalized last week. Web Gemstone, the local company, is largely owned by the British Gemfields Group Limited, based in Landon.
“We don’t know how much of our investment has been vandalized, but our project camp was been overrun by a group of 200 to 300 people on July 31,” Manoj Gaur, the general manager of Web Gemstone told Fortune.
The company also experienced a violent attack on June 29, when an estimated crowd of 300 to 500 individuals vandalised the company’s facilities, according to the general manager.
Web Gemstone was granted an emerald exploration licence in 2015. The company acquired a concession area totalling 200 square kilometres and invested five million dollars in the project.
The mine explorations, drilling and blasting are being performed by Hilson General Plc, while Humble Commercial Plc is implementing the excavation work.
“Our camp has been overrun and destroyed,” Mekonen Tadesse, owner and general manager of the companies, said in a telephone interview. “We have incurred 2.5 billion Br in damages,” he added.
While Web Gemstone, the British company owns 80pc of the concession, 20pc is owned by Ethiopians.