The first private iron ore mining plant is to kick off in Mekaneselam, Wollo Zone in northcentral Ethiopia. Agodo YO is investing between USD150 and 200 million to install a medium-scale iron ore processing plant using the close to 200 million tons of ore discovered in Mekaneselam. Agodo YO is a sister company of C&E Brothers Steel Factory, engaged in rebar production since 2008.
“Large scale iron ore requires huge investment capital. So, we brought the latest technologies to enable a medium-scale production setup. In fact, Ethiopia could have had a large-scale iron ore processing plant if it could focus on import substitution and channel the average of USD5 billion of annual metal import expenditures on developing local mining and processing,” said Mekuanint Alemu, Founder and Board Chair of the group of companies. The company is currently under process to acquire a production license from the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MoMP). The iron ore processing plant will be operational after three years.
Through YO Holdings Trade and Manufacturing PLC, another sister company, he is investing ETB600 million in a coal washing factory in Kamashi, Benishangul Gumuz Region. The coal washing plant, with operations expected within the next five months, will process 300 metric tons of coal monthly and will greatly improve the energy output of local coal. “We will kick off with halved production capacity to be supplied entirely to the market including to cement factories. Once our iron ore plant is operational we will produce at full capacity,” added Mekuanint. A ton of coal is required to process a ton of iron ore.
This company will be the first large-scale coal producing company. It will be followed by Crypton, an Indian company currently under process of acquiring a production license from MoMP to start coal mining in Dawro, in southern Ethiopia.