Essel Group India subsidiary, Essel Group Middle East (EGME) has continued its expansion into the African mining sector through the acquisition of Canadian company NGEx Resources’ Bada potash exploration licence, in Eritrea.
The company aimed to start the first phase of drilling at the little-explored 736 km2 mining area located in the Danakil Depression, about 150 km south-east of Eritrea’s capital city, Asmara, in October.
“We plan on boring approximately five trenches in the initial phase, [and] we have set our targets to be achieved by mid-2016,” said EGME MD Gagan Goel in a statement on Tuesday.
The drilling programme aimed to unpack the evaporite sequence and test the shallower portions of the basin for potash mineralisation.
While limited historical exploration work had been done in the licence area to date, EGME’s “initial reconnaissance” found extensive shallow alluvium cover, young volcanic rocks or recent marine evaporites, with potential for potash-bearing rocks under much of the licence area.
“The Bada licence area offers several significant advantages; along with being a rich source of the mineral itself, its proximity to mass transit points is favourable as well,” Goel added.
The entry into Eritrea followed the company’s potential investment into the oil and exploration sector through a 60% earn-in of TSX-listed Simba Energy’s existing production sharing contracts in Kenya, Chad and Guinea in June.