The newly established mining company, Nubia Mining Development, holds the four concessions, near the border with Eritrea.

Nubia is a joint venture between Ascom Ethiopia, a subsidiary of Ascom Geology & Mining, and a private Ethiopian company, Ezana Mining. Ascom Ethiopia owns 55 per cent of Nubia and Ezana holds the remaining 45 per cent.

Preliminary exploration of the area has shown positive signs of gold deposits, according to Fayez Gress chairman of Ascom. Nubia is carrying out the geological surveys. These are expected to take up to three years to complete.

In 2004, Saudi Arabia’s Citadel Capital bought Ascom Geology & Mining’s parent company, Asec Group, spinning off the geology and mining arm into a separate company.