Based on the research published on research gate by Demeke Fantaw Tegegne of Wolkite University, The resources of coal are globally concentrated in USA, Russia, China, Australia, India, South Africa, Ukraine, Serbia, Mongolia and Brazil. South Africa is the richest in coal deposit in Africa. Deposits of coal and natural gas are also known to exist in Ethiopia. Lignite coal resources from three different areas in Ethiopia were estimated to be 61 metric tons. Additional deposits have been discovered in the western part of the country (Mbendi Information Services, 2000).
The Geological Survey of Ethiopia and results.
Though not to the required level, several geological investigations had been also conducted for coal by the Geological Survey of Ethiopia and resulted in delineating several coal deposits and economic considerations appraised the Delbi, Moye and Yayu coal deposits to be the best whereas, Chilga and Mush valley coal deposit as significant deposits requiring further investigation. Other coal occurrences such as Gojeb, Chinda, Kindo, Halul and Wake in the Southern People, Nation, Nationalities, and Wuchale in the Amhara, and Arjo, Nejo and Mendi in the Oromia National Regional States are worth mentioning. Coal and oil shale are therefore important mineral resource ready for investment (Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia, 2011). Coal resources appear to be quite widespread in Ethiopia, with occurrences in at least one-half of the country’s administrative regions. With the possible exception of a recent discovery at Dilbi in the south-west, the hitherto known deposits are of lignite category with relatively low heating value, often as low as 1,000 to 2,000 Kcal/kg. Other basic problems with currently known Ethiopian coal resources are the high ash content and occasionally high sulphur content. Moreover, the deposits exist in small patches (Mengistu Teferra, 1999). According to the study made by Changshi China based company, the Yayo Woreda alone endowed with over 179 million tons of coal potential. Provided that it is possible to produce 100,000 tons of coal per day, the nation can derive a lot from its coal potential for over 40 years. The ministry of mines of mines of Ethiopia claims that there is 430 million potential of coal in the country.
The economic viability of coal in Ethiopia
Coal is the second source of primary energy (roughly 30%), mostly used for power generation Over 40% of worldwide electricity is produced from coal (www.iea.org). In addition, coal is used to produce virtually all non-recycled iron. Coal is an affordable, easy to transport, store and use, plus free of geopolitical tensions. As per international energy agency, coal is expected to do better in 2017, despite a growing renewable sector, a surging clean energy demand. Global export has generally decreased while demand has decreased from previous years unlike that coal is one of the most hated commodities from a consumer perspective, as it is much dirtier than gas and obviously renewable. Global coal demand and world energy outlook (WEO) can be seen in the following graph. So, the situation indicates investing in coal for energy can boost economy of developing countries and their citizens. Ethiopia has untapped coal resources but it has made its energy dependency mostly on biomass and waste so far. According to the data from international energy agency, it also imports 321 metric ton clean bituminous coal from South Africa for its domestic supply and fuel consumption. Therefore, it can be imagined that using its coal potential will benefit the economy of the citizens and the nation at large.