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The Awash Melkassa Aluminum Sulphate and Sulfuric Acid SC suspended production following a mine closure that supplies raw materials to the factory.

Located 107km east of Addis Ababa, the Awash Melkassa Factory mainly produces Aluminum Sulphate and Sulfuric acid chemicals. The factory supplies its products to the cities’ water and sewerage authorities which uses it to treat drinking water.

The factory mainly uses kaolin mineral as a raw material to produce Aluminium sulphate. Kaolin is mined in Bambo Wuha locality, near Kibre Mengist town in the Oromia Regional State. The mine is operated by the state owned Ethiopian Minerals, Petroleum and Bio Fuel Development Corporation.

The mine was closed last month due to a dispute with the local community and administration in connection with youth benefit demands in the Oromia Regional State. Following the closure of the mine, the Corporation has been unable to supply kaolin mineral to the Awash Melkassa Aluminum Sulphate and Sulfuric Acid Factory.

Teshome Tessema, deputy general manager of Awash Melkassa Aluminum Sulphate and Sulfuric Acid SC, told The Reporter that, the factory ceased production as of February 16, due to the critical shortage of raw material the factory faced in the wake of the closure of Bambo Wuha kaolin mine. “Our stock run out last week,” Teshome said.

According to Teshome, his company has written a letter in detail, the challenges the factory is facing to the relevant government bodies. The company wrote to its board of directors chaired by Motuma Mekassa, minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Ministry of Public Enterprises, Chemical Corporation, Construction and Chemical Inputs Development Institute and the Minerals, Petroleum and Bio Fuel Development Corporation.

“We produce a chemical which is used to treat drinking water for the masses. We believe that the problem needs urgent solution, as it will not be able to supply aluminum sulphate to the cities’ water authorities,” Teshome told The Reporter.

The state-owned company currently produces around 13,000 tons of aluminum sulphate and 17,000 tons of sulfuric acid annually, which are used in the production of leather, car batteries, cotton, and for water treatment. The company generates more than birr 100 million of revenue every year.

Motuma, told The Reporter that, the MMPNG is working with the Oromia Regional State, local administration and Ethiopian Minerals, Petroleum and Bio Fuel Development Corporation, to amicably solve the problem. “To resolve the disputes sustainably, it is necessary to engage with the local communities,” Motuma said.

Bambo Wuha kaolin mine began production 1992. The pilot plant has a capacity of producing 15,000 tons annually, but due to the prevailing domestic market demand, it’s production is limited to nearly 4,000 tons.

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