After shippers in Djibouti refused to transport Ethiopian ore due to radioactive contamination, the Ethiopian government stepped in to suspend mining and exports of tantalite, while it examines plans for a processing plant in the country. State-owned Ethiopian Mineral Development Share Co (EMDSC) which operates the tantalum mine in Kenticha stopped mining two months ago, EMDSC general manager Dr. Zerihun Desta told Metal-Pages, and is currently not selling to Chinese companies or otherwise.
"We are not selling because of regulation on shipping of Class 7 material," Desta said. "We are trying to look at different options to eliminate uranium and thorium impurities by value addition." The company is currently working to expand mining at Kenticha from 200 tpy of tantalite to 350 tpy, and it is planned that a beneficiation plant will be built in Ethiopia to upgrade the ore to 30% concentrate and to remove the radioactive elements.
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