Eritrea considers new Red Sea port

Eritrea is considering building the facility to export potash from deposits being developed in the country Photo: RonnyK/Pixabay/CC0 Creative Commons Eritrea is considering building the facility to export potash from deposits being developed in the country Photo: RonnyK/Pixabay/CC0 Creative Commons
Industry Database

Plans to construct a port on Eritrea’s Red Sea coastline indicate Eritrea’s re-emergence as a possible investor destination following the end of two decades of political tensions between the nation and Ethiopia.

Bloomberg reported that Eritrea is considering building the facility to export potash from deposits being developed in the country.

The business news provider said that the port adds to a series of port developments in the region by countries including Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia.

In an interview, Alem Kibreab, director-general of mines for Eritrea’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, said that the facility (which could be used by potash projects under development in Ethiopia as an export route, instead of Djibouti) would be located at Eritrea’s Bay of Anfile — 47 miles east of the 1.2bn-metric tonne Colluli potash deposit, also in Eritrea.

He added that a feasibility study is currently taking place to determine the specific site, with the beginning of construction envisaged around five years after a mine commences operations there.

Building of the $320m Colluli mine is anticipated to begin later in 2018. According to Bloomberg, bankers are being engaged to secure financing for its construction, with talks having accelerated after Eritrea and Ethiopia’s recent resumption of harmonious relations. The two nations last month agreed to implement a peace agreement ending conflict between the countries.

Output from the mine is initially set to be shipped from the existing Eritrean port of Massawa (which has enough capacity to handle the mine’s exports but is further away than Anfile).

Norwegian chemical company Yara International plans on establishing a $700m potash plant near the Eritrean border and British Virgin Islands-registered Circum Minerals Potash has a mining license there covering 141 square miles.

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