By James Wellstead — Exclusive to Potash Investing News
It is sadly ironic that Africa is fast becoming a potash powerhouse. In recent years, more and more potash projects have developed on a continent where hunger and malnutrition remain a daily reality for more than a quarter of the population.
Already a hub for mining exploration, Africa's vast copper, gold, tin, coal, and diamond fields have lured mining giants in search of risky, yet profitable projects to the continent. The most recent exploration interest is potash, with several projects still in their early stages. Potash companies in Africa Though potash deposits are widely spread across Africa, the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia and Eritrea has long been identified as an area with abundant and accessible potash reserves. Since the 1990s, small-scale potash mining at Danakil has uncovered unusually shallow potash reserves, ranging from 50 to 300 meters underground. However, disputes between Ethiopia and its former breakaway territory, Eritrea, made access to the Danakil region dangerous throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In spite of the challenges of exploring for potash in the Danakil Depression, revised mining laws and political interest have attracted companies like Allana Potash Corp. (TSX: AAA) and Ethiopian Potash Corp. (TSXV: FED) to Ethiopia and Eritrea. While management mishaps at Ethiopian Potash have muddied the waters for some investors, Allana has encouraged investment in the region in great part due to capital expenditures that sit well below competitors in other countries. Financial backing by China has also done much to propel Allana's development, with infrastructure financing being exchanged for discounted potash access for China's growing markets. Sub-Saharan Africa also offers a number of opportunities for potash exploration. In particular, the Republic of Congo (ROC) has been gaining investment interest as companies engage in exploration for the fertilizer.