Ezana Mining Development, a wholly-owned Ethiopian private company, is building a $17.8 million gold plant in Tigray, it was announced on Thursday.
Addis Fortune reported the contract is to build a carbon-in-leach (CIL) gold plant at Terakimti, in northern Tigray, near Shire Endaselassie Town.
It also said the construction had already begun at the plant, which is scheduled to be operational by the end of this fiscal year.
Ezana and the Ministry of Mines (MoM) signed an agreement three weeks ago, enabling Ezana to produce 2.017kg of gold within two years, according to Addis Fortune.
“The technology we will use in the gold plant is no different from the one MIDROC uses, at its Lega Dembi mine in Southern region,” a senior manager of Ezana, who asked for anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said on Thursday.
However, Ezana awarded the turnkey contract – a contract in which an operator or contractor agrees to furnish all labour and materials necessary to drill – to Manhattan Corporation, a South African mining services provider.
Manhattan agreed with Ezana that its tasks will include design engineering, procurement, shipment, construction, installation, implementation and after-sales skills development.
Manhattan was awarded the contract two months ago after beating four international companies that had also tendered for the Ezana contract.
Established in June 1993, Ezana is one of the sister companies in the Endowment Fund For Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT).
Ezana has been conducting mining exploration in the northern part of the country for the past 20 years, according to the senior manager.
The company also explores for iron ores and supplies raw materials to sister company, Messebo Cement Factory, according to Addis Fortune.
Ethiopia earned $654 million from the export of minerals, including gold, platinum, tantalum, decorative stones and gem stones, in 2011/12, according to data from the Ministry of Mines (MoM).
This was largely accounted for by gold, of which 12tn was exported for a total of $602.4 million. MIDROC Gold Mine exported close to three tonnes of that total.