Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

BHP to start potash production in early 2014

The Ministry of Mines (MoM) revealed that it expects the Ethiopian subsidiary of the Anglo-Australian mining giant, BHP Billiton World Exploration Incorporated Ethiopia, to start production of Potash in early 2014; denying reports that the mining company is about to divest from Ethiopia.

Bacha Faji, Public Relation and Communication Department Head at the Ministry said the company which is currently in the exploration stage after having received a license is one of the five mining companies currently prospecting for Potash deposits. 

The other mining companies prospecting for Potash are the Indian mining firm Sennik Potash Private Limited Company, G and B Central Africa resource Limited, Nova Potash Private Limited Company and the Canadian mining giant, Allana Potash Incorporated.

Allana Potash recently announced that 1.3 billion tons of potash reserve has been located at its Danakil potash project in Ethiopia.

The resource holds an average grade of 19.32 percent of potassium chloride, representing about 250 million tons, more than 90 percent increase over the June 2011 resource estimate.

BHP Billiton and the other mining firms are mainly exploring from the arid, inhospitable Dallol area of the Afar Regional State about 1,000Km north east of Addis Ababa.

Potash is the common name of various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water soluble form.

Potash minerals can be used as an input in agricultural and industrial products and are one of the Ethiopian government’s main targets in terms of mining revenue for its ambitious Growth and Transformation Project (GTP).

While it is particularly important for the production of fertilizers, other uses include food supplements and products, cements, and textiles.

The Potash minerals’ location is roughly about 600Km from the port of Djibouti and there are plans to transport the resources through a railway track to be constructed in the future.

In a related development MoM also revealed that it recently gave a clay mining license for C.H. Clinker Manufacturing PLC., which is currently readying itself for the commissioning of its cement factory licensed by the Ministry of Industry (MoI).

C.H. Clinker was established on June 2009 with three billion birr investment capital and anticipates an annual production capacity of 900,000 tons of cement upon completing its second phase of construction by December 2012.

The cement factory is located in the Gebre Guracha area Northern Shoa Zone of Oromia regional state.

There are currently 37 cement projects either operational, in the process of commissioning, being constructed or which have taken licenses before the MoI suspended licenses for new cement projects in the middle of the current Ethiopian Fiscal Year 2011/12.