June 10th, 2011, 05:46 PM
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DALLOL, Afar region | Potash-based fertilizer factory | $1billion | Proposed
A new potash based fertilizer factory to be erected in afar region.
Yara Holdings, an agricultural chemicals giant that has been providing fertilizers to Ethiopian plantations, requested licensing to establish a potash-based fertilizer factory in the country in partnership with Safetec, an Indian corporation, in the Afar regional state.
Already engaged in the region in potash mineral exploration since 2007 was Silk Mining Company, a sister firm of Safetec.
Yara and Safetec have formed a joint company, Ethio Potash, under which they submitted their licensing request to the Ministry of Mines (MoM) for product licensing and plant erection. “We are under negotiations with the company,” Sinknesh Ijigu, minister of mines divulged to The Reporter.
The two giants have allocated a one billion dollar budget for the projects.
Several international conglomerates are eyeing the area for mineral extractions, and many have applied for land deals, according to Sinknesh. “Ethiopian potash is top of the line in terms of its quality,” she related regarding the huge interest of businesses in the area. “And fertilizer is in great demand these days.”
Potash reserve in the Dallol depression in the Afar region – the lowest point below sea level in the world – is estimated at over 160 million cubic meters, which, in monetary terms transmutes to 1.5 to two billion dollars, according to market analysts.
To tap in to this vast reserve, the federal government is on standby for the infrastructural input expected of it for the project sites, including road constructions and railway paving. The former is currently underway, handled by Defense Construction Enterprise, but the latter has yet to be embarked upon.
Safetec has thus far been engaged in technology transfer in the cement industry development in Ethiopia. Notable lants I the company helped build include Derba Midroc, and Abyssinia Cement Factories.
Meanwhile, Yara has been in potash exploration on a land expanse of 10 square kilometers since 2007, and announced having discovered massive reserves recently. The company has also been providing the Ethiopian agricultural sector with dap and urea fertilizers.
The company was the center of attention in Ethiopia in 2005 when it awarded Prime Minister Meles Zenawi with 200,000 dollars and honored him for “for his contribution to improved food security and human nutrition in environmental friendly ways” in the wake of the disputed elections of that year. Meles later went on to donate the money for education expansion for women.
One day we all ask ourselve what went wrong! !