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Elenilto Group is negotiating with the Privatization and Public Enterprises and Supervising Agency (PPESA) to develop Kenticha tantalum mine on a Joint venture basis.
The London based company who received a mining license from the Ministry of Mines a few years ago is asking to manage the mine, which is under the Ethiopian Minerals Development share company (EMD), along with the government.
According to Wondafrash Assefa, public relations head of PPESA, the company approached them about a joint venture even though the agency previously planned to completely privatize the mine.
Wondafrash said that PPESA board chaired by Aster Mamo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service, is evaluating the company’s proposal.
Sources said that the company, established five years ago does not have a good reputation in other countries.
According to media reports the company is engaged in highly questionable practices in Liberia.
In addition, Iris Mining plc, a company under Elenilto Group, received a drilling license from the Ethiopian Geological Survey, under the Ministry of Mines, but did not pay the required amount to the enterprise for about two years. Sources said that the issue is under legal proceedings.
Another problem occurred when the company was unable to come with H.C. Stark, a Germen based company that buys mining products. Elenito Group said it was creating a consortium. PPESA responded by asking the company to provide articulated legal documents regarding the consortium. However they failed to do so.
“The board will review all the activities and reputation of the company in the other countries before it approves the proposal,” Wondafrash said. “It is too early to say that the agency will approve the company’s proposal because the issue is under evaluation,” he added.
“Our aim was to transfer the tantalum mining with full acquisition, but we have accepted the company’s request to see its proposal,” he explained. “We have to wait the final decision of the board,” Wondafrash concluded.
The large, Kenticha mine is located in the southern part of Ethiopia in the Oromia Regional State, Guji Zone, 600 km South of Addis Ababa.
It represents one of the largest tantalum reserves in the country, having and estimated potential of 116 million tonnes of ore grading 0.02 percent tantalum.
The government wants to upgrade the tantalum production through value addition as opposed to exporting the raw mineral.