Toronto-based Allana Potash Corporation, which explores for potash in Argentina and Ethiopia, sait it may begin extracting the mineral from Ethiopia’s northeastern Afar region in 2013. Ethiopia is one of the low-cost places to extract potash, because the deposits are only 100 meters (328 feet) below the surface, compared with 1,000 meters in Brazil and Canada where the grade is similar. Allana expects to extract 1 billion metric tonnes from its 150 square-kilometer (58 square-mile) concession, and mining in the area may last as long as half a century. The composite grade of the resources has been estimated at 20.8% KCl. The alternatives currently under consideration for processing the minerals include MOP production from solution and conventional mining of the sylvinite member and production of SOP and K-Mg sulphate from conventional and solution mining of the kainitite member.
[Published on September 2010]