By Muluken Yewondwossen
Akobo Minerals AB, the Scandinavian-based Ethiopian gold exploration and boutique mining company, which suffered delays of commissioning for gold mining due to external factors, announces it is on the final stage to realize its ambitions at the beginning of the Ethiopian New Year. To bolster, its golden era the company has signed a refinery agreement with a Swiss-based prominent player in the industry.
The company which has been engaging on precious mineral exploration for 12 years at parts of the lowland of the Akobo Basin, in the south west tip of Gambella region in Dima woreda, disclosed that despite the unforeseen issues which deterred its initial plans, its large scale site is currently on its final stage to start commissioning.
Tesfaye Medhane, General Manager of Akobo Minerals, told Capital that at the current stage the plant construction has reached 96 percent completion which means that any day now, the commissioning will begin.
He stated that the shortage of OPC was the major reason for delay to commence the commissioning, in addition to other minor issues that have now been solved.
A few months back, a South African company, IW Mining, was hired to operate the underground mine and to transfer knowledge to the local staffs, who will then take over the operation when the contractor eventually leaves the site in the coming months.
As the months progressed, IW installed a minor plant with the aim to ore test as well as provide training for locals who will be assigned on the industry level production.
“The installation of the small plant as a pilot was to train the team that will engage on the large scale production and at the same time it has also helped to test the ore,” Tesfaye said.
“The concept of onsite training has greatly equipped our skilled labor prior to being involved in the large scale production,” he added.
According to the General Manager, now the full team and required imported inputs and equipment are at the site, “This will allow us to commence production any time.”
He said that the commissioning and gold production will begin in the coming weeks, while in late October a grand inauguration will be held.
For its exploration, the company secured a large scale gold mining license in September 2021 through the Council of Minister, for its first production at Akobo area, on the reserve that it found.
Akobo Minerals has defined two areas for its exploration focus Segele and Joru. Segele is quite small, with high concentration of gold, while Joru covers a larger area, with a lower gold content.
The Segele deposit, which is about 10 km from the South Sudan border and about 750 km south west of Addis Ababa, is an Inferred Mineral Resource of 78ktons at 20.9 gram per ton.
“If you get three or four grams of gold from the crushing of one ton rock it is profitable but when it comes to our site we are expected to produce over 21 grams of gold from one ton of rock, which is a very high grade,” Tesfaye recently told Capital showing that the site in contrast to the global mining sites was still highly profitable.
The mining firm’s total exploration area is 182 km2, while the mining license it secured covered 16 km2 at the Segel deposit.
The Norway based public listed company has now got additional huge reserves on the exploration area to which it plans to continue further in its pursuit to assess the precious metal in order to declare the reserve amount in the near future.
For millennia artisanal miners have been dominating the gold production in Gambella, while Akobo Minerals was one of the two companies which were working to produce the metal at large scale.
In related developments, Akobo Minerals on August 9 announced that it had signed an agreement with Swiss-based MKS PAMP for a range of gold refinery-related services.
MKS PAMP will provide turnkey refining solutions to Akobo Minerals, from collection of the doré the semi-pure alloy of gold, produced at Akobo’s Minerals’ mine in southwest Ethiopia while managing the transportation of the gold through Addis Ababa and all the way to MKS PAMP’s refinery in Switzerland for further purification.
Other MKS PAMP services included; assaying, hedging and delivery of metal bars to customers around the world.
The company, which is one of the most respected precious metals industry players, is an independently operated precious metals refining and fabricating company and part of the MKS PAMP GROUP.
“Akobo Minerals carefully selected MKS PAMP as its partner due to the company’s strong commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. Among all refineries, MKS PAMP stood out as the sole refinery dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint, a commitment that has been independently verified and confirmed by the Science based initiative (SBTI), an independent body,” the mining company said on its statement.
Jørgen Evjen, CEO of Akobo Minerals, stated, “Our agreement with MKS PAMP is the latest piece in the jigsaw for Akobo Minerals as we move towards production. As we set our sights on production from our Segele mine, we are delighted that we have secured a partner that will work with us to take our gold from our site to the global gold market. It is a true stamp of approval by one of the most respected London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)-approved refineries in the world.”
LBMA Good Delivery Referee is a key component of the LBMA’s quality assurance process for the worldwide bullion trading community.
An LBMA accredited refinery is a precious metals refinery that has been accredited by LBMA, the international trade association representing the global over-the-counter (OTC) market for gold and silver bullion. LBMA accredited refineries are required to meet strict quality and integrity standards to ensure the production of good delivery bars, which are widely accepted in the global bullion market. These refineries are subject to regular audits and inspections to maintain their accreditation.
As per the ten year development plan mining is one of the six key economic development sectors that the government targets to fetch.
Akobo Minerals golden era to soon shine, partnerships solidify
By Muluken Yewondwossen