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Eritrea mulls new port to harness potash project


 Eritrea is considering a new port on its coast line at the Bay of Anfile, located some 75 kilometres east of a Colluli potash project being operated by Dankali Limited of Australia.

The port is aimed at helping export of potash from mines being developed in the country and from neighbouring Ethiopia.

Mr. Alem Kibreab, a government official, said that a feasibility study was underway to pick a site for the proposed port.

The project wasm conceived five years after the mine started operating there because according to plans, “To begin (construction), the company has to make money0”.

Dankali Ltd on August 22 announced that its Social and Environmental Management Plans (SEMPs) for the Colluli Potash Project in Eritrea had been agreed on and finalised after a review process.

The Executive Chairman, Mr.  Seamus Cornelius, said: “We are committed to having a significantly positive impact in Eritrea.

``Colluli stands to provide significant social and economic benefits, creating hundreds of permanent jobs for Eritrean nationals and catering for community interests.”

The project is 100 per cent owned by Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC), a 50:50 joint venture between Danakali and the Eritrean National Mining Corporation (ENAMCO).

Colluli contains deposits of high-grade fertilizers suitable for use on fruit and coffee trees and vegetables, according to Danakali’s website.

It is situated in the Danakil Depression, a geological area that stretches into Ethiopia and is regarded as an “emerging potash province,” the company said.

The Dankali executive chairman said that the current truce between Eritrea and Ethiopia boosted the work in the area.

“Those discussions have accelerated following the Ethio-Eritrea peace deal, he said. “With the rapid changes and the rapid improvement in the geopolitical situation, things we weren’t thinking were possible in the past are now possible.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki in July signed a peace agreement that saw the two neighbours bring an end to decades of hostilities and the restoration of friendly ties between them.

Till the proposed port is completed, exports will have to depend on the existing Massawa Port located some 230 kilometres from the mines.

On their part, Ethiopian exports if they opt to use Eritrea will have a shorter journey to Massawa or to Anfile Bay, much shorter that the over 790 kilometres journey to use the Tadjoura Port in Djibouti.