Ethiopia Finalizing Infrastructures to Exploit Potash from Dallol Depression


Ena December 20/2012 The construction of infrastructures that enables Ethiopia to exploit potash resources in Afar Regional State will be completed within six months, Mines and Petroleum State Minister told ENA.

The Dallol Depression in the north eastern part of the country is the area where large deposit of potash exists.

Mines and Petroleum State Minister, Assefa Kumsa said the Government of Ethiopia is working to finalize infrastructures like road and electricity to exploit the potential potash resources.

“The government has allocated a total of over 500 million USD for infrastructure building in order to tap the potash resource and benefit the country. The road and electric transmission lines will also benefit the community in the areas where the resource is found,” he pointed out

According to the state Minister, the 600 kilometers asphalt road from Dallol to Tadjoura Port in Djibouti is almost completed and the road from the city of Mekele to Dallol covered with asphalt concrete.

Out of the 130 kilometers transmission line from Mekele substation to Dallol Depression, 120 kilometers transmission line is finalized, he added.

Moreover, though the construction has not yet started the government also plans to build infrastructure from Dallol to Assab Port, the state minister revealed, adding that the realization of the 150-200 kilometers road  from Dallol to Assab in Eritrea will reduce transport cost and enables Ethiopia to be competitive in the international potash market by reducing the distance to export potash by at least 400 kilometers.

Allana Potash (a company that sold its production license to the Israeli Chemicals Ltd. company), Yara International, and Circum Minerals Ltd., from Israel, Netherlands and Britain, respectively, are going to extract the potash resource in Dallol Depression.

Yara International and Circum Minerals Ltd companies have completed feasibility and technical studies on 54 square kilometers and 365 square kilometers, respectively; and they are ready to begin production soon, according to the state minster.

“The company named Allana International sold its production license to the Israeli ICL company due to lack of finance …. The other two companies have, however, completed their technical and feasibility studies and they are on the stage of beginning production,” Assefa said.

The companies expect to extract over 750 millon tons of reserve potash, it was learned .

The state minister said each of the three companies will on average create jobs to 1,500-2,000 skilled persons.

Ethiopia intends to exploit a total of ten thousand square kilometers of the depression for potash reserve.

Ethiopian News Agency