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The state owned company that mines tantalum is now up for a bid to an interested potential buyer for a full acquisition of the company. For the first time the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA) tabled the tantalum mining enterprise, along with eight other companies, on a full acquisition basis. The agency had been floating Ethiopian Mineral Development S.C. (EMDSC) on a joint venture (JV) basis but the latest bid floated this week offers interested buyers for full ownership.
According to Wendafrash Assefa, public relations head of PPESA, the mining enterprise, the company which is the predecessor to the Ethiopian Mineral Resources Development Corporation is known for mining tantalum. Over the last two years it had been put up for auction several times but it failed to attract much interest primarily because it requires a huge investment capital. During the recent joint venture bid an Israeli company offered an attractive price to manage the company along with the government.
“However, the bid was canceled because there were some problems with the enterprise,” Wondafrash explained. “Now the board has decided to float the enterprise on a full acquisition basis,” he added.
According to Wondafrash, the company that will win the bid is expected to expand the investment and export its products.
EMDSC was formed in 1996 but in January 2000 Ethiopian Mineral Development was restructured as a share company with a total paid up capital of over 128.5 million birr.
The company extracts and processes rare metals and industrial minerals.
EMDSC mines Tantalum, at its Kenticha exploration and mining concession area, located in Adola 550Km south of Addis Ababa. It also produces industrial minerals via its Bomba Woha Ceramic Minerals Development Unit, 420Km south of Addis. These include Kaolin, k-feldspar, quartz, and dolomite.
These semi processed/milled materials are supplied to the domestic market and are used in producing chemicals, ceramics, paints and soaps.
The other mining firm Adola Gold Development Enterprise located 500Km southeast of Addis Ababa at Oddo Shakisso Wereda, Oromia Regional state is still under the government control
Recently, EMDSC discovered a primary tantalum ore estimated at 2,500 metric tons. EMDSC started operation with an annual production capacity of 20 metric tons with a single processing plant. Over the years, by improving the mode of production and efficiency, the company increased its annual output to 70 metric tons per annum. In recent years the company installed two additional processing plants and boosted production to 200 metric tons per year. In 2011, the company produced and exported 210 tons of tantalite concentrate.
Other companies included on the current bid are; Bahir Dar and Kombolcha Textile Enterprises, Weyra and Shebele Transport enterprises, Agricultural Mechanized Service Enterprise, Transport Construction Design and a villa house that used to host Battu construction