Ethiopia is finalizing the construction of infrastructures so it can make use of potash resources of the Dallol Depression in the Afar region in the north-eastern part of the country, it was reported.
Assefa Kumsa, Ethiopia's Mines and Petroleum State Minister, speaking to ENA, said his government is making ready infrastructures such as road and electricity to exploit potential potash resources at Dallol, an area endowed with large deposits of it.
“The government has allocated a total of over $500 million for infrastructure building in order to tap the potash resource and benefit the country. The road and electric transmission lines will also benefit communities in the areas where the resource is found,” Mr. Assefa said.
To expedite export facilities of the resource, a 600-kilometer asphalt road from Dallol to Djibouti's Tadjoura Port is almost completed, the State Minister pointed out, along with an asphalt concrete road connecting the city of Mekelle to Dallol.
120 of the 130 kilometers transmission line from Mekelle substation to Dallol Depression is finalized, he further noted.
Mr. Assefa went on to say the Ethiopian government also intends to build infrastructure connecting Dallol to Eritrea's Assab Port. The fact that Assab is closer to Dallol, some 150 to 200 kilometers, will help reduce transport costs and enable Ethiopia to be competitive in the international potash market.
Extracting the potash resource in the Dallol Depression are 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.
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, the State Minister explained.
The companies expect to extract over 750 million tons of reserve potash, it was learned. Each of the three companies is expected to create an average of 1,500-2,000 jobs for skilled personnel.
Ethiopia aims to exploit a total of ten thousand square kilometers of the Dallol depression for potash reserve.