A new study conducted by Norwegian fertiliser firm Yara has confirmed the potential to extract potash from the Danakil depression in north-eastern Ethiopia.
Carried out on behalf of Norway’s Yara International, the independent study identified an annual production of 600,000t of sulphate of potash (SOP) over 23 years from reserves such as Kainite, Carnallite and Sylvinite at Yara’s Danakil concession.
With the aim to commence mining activities in the third quarter of 2018, Yara International is seeking equity partners to develop the project.
Mining technology will be used to extract the reserves and the brine produced at the mining sites will be evaporated using high solar radiation.
The harvested salts will be processed and re-crystalised to produce standard and compacted SOP.
Yara will truck the product 790km to Tadjoura, Djibouti, where the project includes a storage and handling terminal at the new port for product and is under construction by the Djibouti Port Authority at present.
With an estimated $740m capital expenditure, the project is expected to have an operating expenditure amounting to $167 per metric tonne FOB Djibouti.
The Danakil mining project has already received Ethiopian Government support, which will provide electric power by building a 130km-long power line and constructing a new, low-land road for operation access.
Future activities comply with Ethiopian environmental legislation and international guidelines and standards, according to an environmental and social impact assessment study.