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Allana Potash is granted a mining license by the Ministry of Mines (MoM) for its 750 million dollars potash development in Afar Regional state near the Danakil Depression.
The two parties sealed the deal on Tuesday, October 8, at the Sheraton Addis.
On Friday, October 4th, the Council of Ministers approved commencement of operations by Allana Potash, a Canadian company which has the backing of the World Bank.
Allana Potash has been carrying out explorations in ‘Zone Two’ of the Danakil Depression in Afar Regional State for the past five years at a cost of USD 80 million and is set to commence production at the end of 2015.The exploration area covers 312 sq. km of land with enormous amount of potash deposit, along with other sites in the area. Estimates indicate that this area, located in the northeastern part of the country, has four billion tons of potash deposits.
Today, potash is produced worldwide at amounts exceeding 30 million tons per year, mostly for use in fertilizers.
Currently, Ethiopia uses Urea and Dap fertilizers for farming, but some areas need the mineral potassium for agricultural development, which Allana Potash is also expected to supply. “We will blend the potash with fertilizers for areas that have potassium requirements,” said Sinkinesh Ejigu, Minister of Mines during the signing ceremony.
Allana Potash and the Agricultural Transformation Agency have been working together on soil mapping in the country.
Nejib Abba Biya, Senior Vice President and co-founder of Allana Potash, who signed the deal on behalf of the Company, stated that Allana will work with the Agency to expand the Country’s agricultural sector. It is set to produce one million tons of potash per annum, which it will mostly export to the Asian market while some will be used to meet local needs.
Other companies are also involved in exploration projects in the area to discover and develop more potash. The Minister told Capital that many others are also requesting to conduct explorations in Afar. “Potash has changed the image of mining in Ethiopia; we have mainly focused on gold and other related minerals (silver, copper and others) before, but according to the studies conducted we have found out that the potash deposits we have are first rate,” she said.