Ethiopia is reportedly the sixth largest producer of tantalum in the world. The Kenticha Tantalite mine in the Oromia region of southern Ethiopia is expected to contain ample deposits to produce as many as 9,000 tonnes of refined tantalum products over the next 15 years and beyond. Quartz and feldspar are also found in the mine.
In Ethiopia, a large variety of industrial minerals are already being extracted quite successfully.
Here’s a peek at a few of these. Soda ash is being mined at Lake Abiyata, some 200 kilometers south of the capital in the rift valley. At salt concentrations ranging from 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent, the reserve at Lake Abiyata and the adjacent lakes exceeds 460 million tonnes of sodium carbonate. On a semi-industrial scale, the plant produces around 5,000 tonnes of soda ash per annum. Local caustic soda factories and soap and detergent producers are the users of soda ash.
Kaolin, quartz and feldspar are extracted by a state-owned company from the Adola belt in southern Ethiopia.
Local factories also produce and use silica sand. High-quality limestone, clay, gypsum and pumice are used as raw materials by the country’s cement factories for processing.
Potash has garnered some of the greatest interest from all of Ethiopia’s mineral potential. 95% of the world’s potash is mined for use in fertilizers, while the remainder is used for feed supplements and industrial processing. The presence of evaporite minerals in the Danakil depression, and in particular the Dallol Great Salt Plane in northern Ethiopia, has led to numerous exploration efforts in the past. The study suggested the presence of two ore bodies in Dallol, the Crescent ore body and the Musley ore body, both of which pose excellent opportunities for investors.
The construction industry uses vast amounts of locally mined construction minerals such as sand, gravel, scoria, crushed stones, aggregates, scoria, for buildings, roads, dams and bridges. Decorative and building materials are also manufactured in the southern, western, central and northern parts of Ethiopia by foreign and local mining companies.