|To the west of Ethiopia near the border with Sudan lies a place called the Asosa zone. This may be the location of the oldest gold mine in the world. 6,000 years ago, it provided a key source of gold to the ancient Egyptians. It may even have supplied the Queen of Sheba with her lavish gifts of gold when she visited King Solomon.||Locals panning for gold.|
|The Asosa zone is made up of flatlands, rugged valleys, mountainous ridges, streams and rivers. It is densely vegetated by bamboo and incense trees, with remnants of tropical rainforests along the river valleys. The zone, which is part of Ethiopia's Benishangul-Gumuz region, is spotted with archaeological sites. Several mines are up and running, neither of them in Asosa. One is at Lega Dembi slightly to the east, owned by Saudi interests.|
The other, at Tigray in the north of the country, is owned by Newmont, and just started production late last year.
|Field observations and panning suggest that gold should be generally abundant across the Asoza zone – both in quartz veins but also in the schist and pegmatite rocks in which they are located. There are also signs of substantial graphite deposits.|