Arerti Ceramics Manufacturing, a Chinese company incorporated in Ethiopia, has signed agreement with the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum to start mining bentonine mineral in Amhara region of Ethiopia.
The company will start mining bentonite mineral around Chacha, Angolola area in north Shoa of Amhara Region. The company has allocated a total investment of 41 million birr. The Ministry of Mines and Petroleum indicated that when the company goes fully operational, it will create 3,000 jobs.
In coming ten years the company plans to mine 870,000 tons of bentonite mineral from the area. In addition to Amhara region, bentonitic clay resources are found in the Afar and Oromia regions.
The deposits are found near the main road and easily accessible. The main occurrences in afar are located at Ledi, Gewane, Hadar and Warseiso, according to the report of Ethiopian Geological Survey (EGS), the state agency in charge of conducting research on the minerals potential of Ethiopia.
“The bentonitic beds are part of a thick sequence of lacustrine sediments, which consists of clays, silts, sands, calcareous grits, gravels, conglomerates, basaltic flows, and ashes. These sediments were deposited near the western margin of the central part of the Afar depression,” EGS states.
Bentonite clay has an abundance of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium. The mineral can be applied in different sectors and productions of goods including, in pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics, paper, paints, detergents, in edible oil processing, in agriculture, among others.
Bentonite is can be as a bonding material in the preparation of molding sand for the production of iron, steel and non-ferrous casting.
Ethiopia has different types of mineral resources ranging from gold, platinum potash, and precious stones like emerald, tantalum and other gemstones. The country also has huge untapped iron, oil and gas reserve.