Five foreign companies have invested about US$6.5 billion in the Ethiopian potash mining industry, the country’s Ministry of Mines has revealed.
BHP Belton World Exploration Ethiopia, G and B Central Africa Resource Limited, NOVA Potash, Saynic Potash and Allana Potash – are all based in Dalol, about 1 000 KM north of Addis Ababa.
Potash, used primarily as an agricultural fertiliser is a source of soluble potassium, one of the three primary plant nutrients.
There are large deposits of potash in Ethiopia.
Allana Potash last week said that it had tested potash deposits at the three points in the south western part of its claims.
“These holes, combined with previous holes completed by Allana, form a region of potash mineralisation which occurs at depths between 75 and 200 metres below surface, the company said.
“Allana management believes that the potash in this region may be amenable to mining by open pit methods and future studies will focus on this potential.”
Canada and Ukraine are the leading producers of potash in the world.
Canada produces about 20 percent of the world’s supply of potash while Brazil imports 90% of its potash and is expected to be the buyer of the product in the world by 2020.
According to recent figures, bulk clients are buying potash at 363 euros or US$520 per tonne, a 27% net increase over the last 18 month.
The prices are projected to reach US$ 600 per tonne by the end of the year.