By our staff reporter
Kenticha Mining plc, a company formed by the state and private investors including Ethiopians for the production of lithium concentrate announces the arrival of the first batch of the 1.5 billion birr worth of spodumene DMS/ Dense Media Separation/ processing plants.
The company which has an aligned vision with government to produce value added product from tantalum mining facility located at Kenticha, 60 km south of Addis Ababa, had stated a few week back that the first batch of processing plant will dock in Djibouti early September.
According to Ali Hussien, one of the local investors, well known for his company Alfoz plc, a company involved in numerous businesses including the export sector, disclosed to Capital that the first batch of spodumene DMS plant is being transported to Kenticha.
In its voyage, the five forty feet containerized cargo that was loaded on five trucks has gone past almost 1,070 km to arrive at Hawassa, 270 km south of Addis Ababa on Friday September 22.
As Ali indicates, the first processing plant has a capacity to process 20 tons per hour, “The second batch of the plant will be in Djibouti in a month’s time.”
Both processing plants are said to have consumed 1.5 billion birr.
The spodumene DMS processing plant that was produced in South Africa will process 70 tons per hour while the second plant, which has 50 tons per hour capacity, will start production in the coming months.
According to the company, the third and largest DMS with 200 tons per hour capacity is said that it will be manufactured and transported to the site in the near future.
The company recently disclosed that the civil works have been completed for the arrival of the plants.
Kenticha is located at Kenticha locality, Seba Boru woreda in Guji zone of Oromia region, 600 km south of Addis Ababa.
It can be recalled that with the aim to export value added mineral production, the government had suspended the production and export of tantalum concentrate, a business that was ongoing since the late Derg era.
Kenticha Mining plc is established by the Oromia regional government, and private investors including Australia based, African Mining and Energy (AME).
The company received a large scale mining license in July last year which covered the Kenticha tailings.
As cited recently, from December 2022 to January 2023, KMPLC sampled tailing materials at depths of 0.5 to three meters.
The company disclosed that the Kenticha pegmatite is one of the largest pegmatites in the world and that it is set up to 100 meters thick, extending over two kilometers.
The ore-body was estimated to contain 87.7 million tons of ore grading at 0.78 percent lithium oxide with appreciable quantities of tantalum and niobium.
As per the plan, the mining will commence in the second quarter of 2024 in the southern high grade pit at the site, “This strategy will enable the company to accelerate cash flow while continuing to drill out the Kenticha ore body to fully delineate the ore body and capture its full size.”
As per the plan, 2023 will see the commissioning of the first processing plant and commencement of production.
In the coming year, KMPLC has projected to produce 100,000 tons of lithium concentrate that will generate USD 400 million in 2024 alone.