There are a December 2016 report written by Jutta Kill and published in parts by the European Union. The name of the Report are: “The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya: A crash dive for Althelia Climate Fund”. This report tells a worrying story of how a project is a possible revenue source, instead of being there for climate change use or even local development. This sort of project and funding should be used for sort of projected land titles that saves the forests or create land that the owners can earn on instead of destroying the land. Something most of the REDD+ funds and projects is about, making sure the forest and the agricultural lands are kept and saved by the use of funding from donors and project builders.
One of the first hard-hitting quotes from the report are: “In addition, several reports document how land use restrictions imposed by the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project hit pastoralists and ethnic Taita and Duruma communities particularly hard while these groups receive very few if any of the benefits the REDD+ project provides to local communities” (Jutta Kill, P: 4, 2016).
So if there are donors who seems to be positive to projects and development projects that isn’t being there for the locals, than why are they offering the monies and using the time to facilitate the project in Kenya?
“The Taita Hills REDD+ Project in Kenya has been marketed by Althelia, the project developer Wildlife Works Carbon, institutional funders like the EIB and media supporting market-based environmentalism as the Fund’s signature investment. Wildlife Works Carbon has been operating the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in south-eastern Kenya since 2005” (Jutta Kill, P: 6, 2016). So with this in mind the Althelia has offered certain amount of money on the table, as this was the signature investment, even as it have no benefit for the local communities. The Althelia had done this: “For four of the projects, the Fund’s annual reports indicate that the investment is made in the form of loans whereas for the REDD+ project in Kenya, the 2015 audited financial report mentions an investment through an ‘Emission Reductions Purchase Agreement’ (ERPA). Four of the five projects are also covered by a US$133.8m loan guarantee that USAID has extended to the Althelia Climate Fund in 2014. As of 31 December 2015, investors had disbursed €18,36m of the €101m committed” (Jutta Kill, P: 5, 2016). So the development project are funded through loans that are guaranteed by the USAID, but extended into the Althelia Climate Fund, so the two are co-operating in the direct funding of the REDD+ Kenya. So they are rubber-stamping and giving faith to the projects.
“The ‘Stand for Trees’ Initiative, a brainchild of Wildlife Works and supported by USAID, has become an important source of revenue – some say, a lifeline – for many private sector REDD+ projects” (Jutta Kill, P: 17, 2016). So that the Wildlife Works that works inside this REDD+ project, that are using the funds from USAID and EIB, are complicating it more as the other revelations that should worry the ones who cares about the environment and accountability of ones running it: “The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project’s financial lifeline came from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, and BHP Billiton, the mining company with a record of severe environmental damage and forced displacement of communities that stretches back decades and continues to this day” (Jutta Kill, P: 18. 2016). So why would a mining company cares about an environmental project in Kenya, unless they we’re earning funds and getting profits on the project?
You can really understand the issues of the IFC and BHP Biliton involvement, when the local communities gets no benefit or contributing to the projects.
So when you have the Althelia Climate Fund, which is funded with loans from the World Bank private corporation branch IFC and the USAID loans, together in corporation of BHP Bilition, as the REDD+ Project in Kenya is in works with both Wildlife Works, as the ‘Save the Tree’ brainchild. As this was the Althelia signature project. That there are problematic forces in play when the EIB are supporting the REDD+ projects as well, either directly through loans like USAID or like IFC. Therefore, the many actors are surely paying and donating favorable loans so the owners of the fund and the ones living of it makes this the lifeline for the Wildlife Works, even as this one doesn’t have the impact on local communities.
Just as one key observation:
“One of the most striking observations was how locally, people referred to Wildlife Works as “the company”. The reasons for this seemed twofold. For one part of “the community”, Wildlife Works is “the company” that instructs guards to confiscate cattle and goats; that prevents the poorest community members in the area from collecting even dry branches for firewood when “the company” itself runs a charcoal production business on the REDD+ project area; that puts up water tanks on residents’ land without even asking permission, let alone paying for the use of the land; that claims to dedicate initially 1/3 of carbon revenue sales to local community projects, but does so in a way that means benefits from these “community” projects are captured by local elites. For example, ranch shareholders who receive 1/3 of the revenue from the carbon credit sales might also sit on the “community development committees” that decide how the 50% of the profit from carbon credit sales” (Jutta Kill, P: 21, 2016).
Another insulting observation:
“A carbon offset provider offering carbon credits from the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project writes on its website that “committees determine what projects to undertake, prioritizing them by need and feasibility. ‘So many people have problems with water, so water projects—water tanks, water pipelines—always come first,’ said Pascal Kizaka, a local chief and committee board member” (…) “Exploring the location of one of the “water pipelines” advertised as an activity of the Wildlife Works Carbon REDD+ project revealed that far from what was suggested by the large placard outside the building (a One Vision Center), it seemed that the Wildlife Works contribution to the “water pipelines” project had been just the guttering along the side of the building’s roof and piping to connect the gutters with a water tank constructed by others. People also commented about bore holes put in by “the company” that had never provided any water” (Jutta Kill, P: 23, 2016).
So the Company, the Wildlife Works are supposed to provide water and pipelines. Still, there aren’t any who has been provided with the water, even as the REDD+ Committee Board Member Pascal Kizaka claims, as the locals and community says otherwise. This together with the lacking proof of the help with carbon credit sales and the control of land. This whole development project seems sketchy and a lifeline for Wildlife Works instead of being there for the local Kenyan Communities. Therefore, the use of IFC and Althelia Climate Fund, seems like way of misusing Carbon Tax and Carbon trading, instead of developing the Kasigau project for the Taita and Duruma communities. That deserves better and also deserves that when people and organizations comes in that they does not earn on their misfortune, but actually comes with projects serving them. If not this is just a way of fraudulent development industry, that no republic deserves. Peace.
In this day and age there can still come some surprises like out of the wind a leaf will fall to the ground. It makes a sound and a whistle. You can never be up to speed about everything. I know about the Ethiopian dam projects, but certain industrial projects have gone in the wind. But then out of nothing the ICL buying out Allana Potash in the Danakil Depression caught my eye. Therefore I started doing research and seeing if I could get some information on the matter. A lot of information isn’t above the sea level yet, it’s still loose ends though. The licenses and the agreements between any company and the sovereign nation of Ethiopia are not at bay. But all the other information is saying certain stories. And tell how big of an issue this can get. Especially when you see how many companies is a-part of this shindig. Hope you get some information that you didn’t before and learn about the Danakil Depression in the Afar Region in Ethiopia.
Introduction to the area:
“The potash potential of Ethiopia was dormant until World War II where Italian and other foreign companies initiated exploration activities in different parts of the extremely hot Danakil Depression of northern Ethiopia, where temperatures regularly exceed +50°C. The companies exploited a number of mineral resources, such as potash and sulphur. The Danakil depression is found down to 110 m below sea level. The evaporites of the central parts of the Danakil Depression cover an area of 1165 km2, the major part of which is known as the Salt Plain” (…) “The Afar region of north-east Ethiopia is covered by Quaternary lacustrine sediments and volcanic rocks of the East African Rift Valley. The central part of the Danakil Depression is covered by a thick evaporite succession (Salt Formation), which is partially covered by Quaternary volcanic rocks” (Geus, 2010).
“ETHIOPIAN POTASH CORP. (ETHIOPIAN POTASH) has signed an Option Agreement to buy over G&B Central African Resources, which holds the title for the G&B Mineral Property in the Danakil Depression, Afar State, Ethiopia” (…) “Pursuant to the Option Agreement, upon the Option Closing, the Founders will also receive, on a pro rata basis, an aggregate of 20,000,000 Resulting Issuer Common Shares at a deemed price of $0.20 per Resulting Issuer Common Share, as incentive payments for their roles in reorganizing, financing and developing the business of G&B and in negotiating the Option Agreement” (…) “The value of the Danakil Potash Permits, the option and the payments under the Option Agreement were determined and negotiated through arm‟s length negotiations. The Danakil Technical Report was filed with the Exchange on December 3, 2010” (…) “ETHIOPIAN POTASH commissioned the production of a Technical Report in compliance with NI 43-101 to both summarise past exploration and to provide guidance for further project development. As a first step this Preliminary Resource Assessment Study (PRAS) from the independent consultant ERCOSPLAN, a German consultancy firm with more than half a century of experiences in industrial potash mining and processing was prepared” (…) “According to official information, exploration and mining licences were granted to Sainik Coal Mining Private Limited from the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2007. Referring to this source, the deposit is estimated to contain resources of 160 million tonnes (without further specification)” (…) “ALLANA POTASH CORP. reports in 2008 for the part of the Musley deposit within their property an inferred resource amounting to 31.3 million tonnes of sylvinite at 25.4% KCl and 73.9 million tonnes of kainitite at 18.8% KCl, not taking into account mining and processing losses” (…) “The Musley Deposit, in the extension as defined by PARSONS, contains 171.27 million tonnes of mineralised material (55.63 million tonnes KCl) and partly extends onto the G&B Danakil Property. Six of the historical drill holes are located within the south western part of this property” (…) “The modelling of the 6 drill holes within the G&B Danakil Property and nearby drill holes south of the property resulted in inferred geological sylvinite resources of 28 million tonnes at an average grade of 29% KCl from the so-called Sylvinite Member, with additional inferred geological sylvinite/carnallitite resources of 5 million tonnes at an average grade of 22% KCl from the sampled part of the intermediate Member and inferred geological kainitite resources of 95 million tonnes at an average grade of 18% KCl. In these numbers, no deduction for mining and plant losses are considered. Resource estimations refer to the G&B Danakil Property only” (…) “The Danakil Depression stretches some 200km between Lake Bada (lake level 50m below sea level) in the NNW and Lake Acori (lake level 94m below sea level) in the SSE. The deepest point is located at Lake Assale where the lake level is 128m below sea level. This desert area is characterised by a flat surface that is interrupted by only few hills known as Mount Dallol, Black Mountain and Ashe Ale” (…) “Danakil Potash Exploration: Licence 3137-3150/2000 – 265.05km²” (…) “The mining policy of Ethiopia has received partial updating via the Mining and Income Tax Proclamations in 1993 and the supporting Mineral Operations Regulations in 1994 . These laws were established to stimulate the development of mining and to guarantee the property rights of both local and foreign investors. The preamble to the new mining law states that the law recognizes the significant role of private investment in capital formation, technology acquisition and marketing of minerals. The laws foresee different kinds of permits. The permit holders have both rights and obligations” (…) “The Danakil Depression is known as the hottest place on Earth, and is consistently hot throughout the year. Dallol‟s record high of the annual average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth of 34°C was recorded between the years 1960 and 1966” (…) “Because of the harsh conditions, the area of the G&B Property is very sparsely populated, and is mostly only temporarily inhabited by the Afari nomads. In the north western part of the G&B Danakil Property the small (temporary?) settlements of Ghebro (local salt extraction), and Iremle are located. In the northernmost part of the G&B Bada Property several small settlements are situated adjacent to the agriculturally used area on the alluvial fan of the Ragali River delta” (…) “road access is limited, but since 2010 it is in relatively good condition. No railway facility is available. No supply of electrical energy, fresh water and internet access is present. Connection to global system for mobile phone communication (GSM) is not available; the only option for communication at the site is via satellite telephone or radio. Mechanical and technical services as well as fuel cannot be obtained on site. Reasonable infrastructure for this is either present at Mekele or Afdera” (Raushe, 2011).
Information on AgriMinco:
“Following the completion of the maiden National Instrument 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate, the operator of Danakil Holdings Ltd., Plinian Capital LLP, requested a preliminary investigation into the economic viable mining and processing options for the Danakil potash resources” (…) “AgriMinco’s chief executive officer, Bruce Cumming, comments: “Whilst the results are encouraging, they must be seen against the backdrop of uncertainty that the company continues to face due to the difficulties experienced in attempting to raise additional finance and the existing debt burden the company carries. We continue to focus our efforts on completion either of a capital raise or a corporate transaction. Under the terms of the JV agreement and the amendment thereto, AgriMinco was required to contribute 30 per cent of expenditure in excess of the agreed free carry by April 7, 2014” (…) “The operator of the joint venture, Plinian Capital, and Circum Minerals Ltd., the 70-per-cent joint venture partner, have consented to the release of the information contained herein” (Cumming, 2014).
BHP Billiton pulls away:
In 2012 pulled BHP Billiton out of the Danakil Depression. The spokesman for the company commented on it like this: “They already informed the ministry they want to leave” (…) “We have made a decision to discontinue exploration activities in Ethiopia” (…) “This was because following completion of sufficient work it’s not expected to meet BHP’s investment criteria”. The company didn’t deliver any more information to why they pulled away from the project at the time (Davison, 2012).
License giving to Allana:
“The Ethiopian Ministry of Mines has issued a mining license for the country’s Danakhil Potash Project to Allana Potash – a Canadian mineral exploration company. The license was issued after its approval by the Ethiopian council of ministers. A detailed review of the projects feasibility study and the Environmental, Social and Health Impacts Assessment (ESHIA) by the Ministry of Mines and other government departments had been carried out” (Wanene, 2013). “Approval of the ESHIA is conditional on the fulfillment of several action plans, most of which are identified in the ESHIA and already in place. These include monitoring ground water in the region (ongoing), resettlement of two small villages (in progress) and a commitment to community development (part of Allana’s Community Development Plan). Approval of the Company’s ESHIA is necessary for the granting of a Mining License in Ethiopia. The Ministry continues to review Allana’s application for the Mining License and meetings last week in Ethiopia indicate significant progress has been made in the evaluation of the Company’s Feasibility Study. While this work is ongoing, Allana is optimistic that the granting of the Mining License will occur in the next few months” (Mbendi, 2013).
Beginning information on Allana:
Allana had already before 2010 was finished had 60 drilling holes in the Danakil Depression. “Allana tacked on 28 drill holes from its wholly-owned Nova project, which occupies roughly 132-sq.km adjacent to its Dallol concessions and was picked up in a merger with Nova-Ethio Potash in November 2012”. The president and CEO Farhad Abasov is excited and was quoted saying: “We are excited to see the large increase in total mineral resources on the project and the significant conversion of inferred mineral resources into measured and indicated mineral resource categories” (…) “Potash resources continue to expand with our exploration activities which are ongoing on the Nova license. We are encouraged that significant additional mineralization of [carnallite and kainitite] has been delineated and will initiate further study on these resource estimates” (Northern Miner, 2013).
Basic information on Allana:
“Allana’s potash project is comprised of four potash concessions (Danakil Potash Project) located in Ethiopia’s northeastern Danakil Depression totaling approximately 312 square kilometers” (Allana).
Allana has completed a NI 43-101 compliant technical report for the three concessions. The technical report highlighted several unique advantages of this project:
An inferred mineral resource of 105,200,000 tonnes of potash mineralization (Sylvinite and Kainitite) with a composite grade of 20.8% KCI
Near-surface (shallow-depth) potash mineralization (within 50 metres of surface)
Potential for solution or open-pit potash mining
16 drill holes immediately on Allana’s property
2 hole intersect 45 metres of potash mineralization at a depth of 680 metres – demonstrate significant potential to expand potash resource
Unique environment that may provide for low-cost production utilizing solar evaporation and geothermal power
MOP (muriate of potash) and SOP (sulphate of potash) production is feasible (NaFinance, 2009)”
Allana raised funds for construction:
“Abasov and company have raised over $90 million in equity markets and has sufficient cash reserves to reach the construction stage. And the news keeps getting better. Just last month, Allana’s debt financing process reached a new milestone as the company further de-risks the project” (InvestorIntel, 2013). “At this stage, little is known about the role of Ethiopian banks in the transaction for the loans between Afreximbank and Allana Potash” (Keffyalew, 2013). Allana Potash, a Vancouver-based mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is set to acquire financing for its mammoth potash mining project in Danakil Depression in the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia in the order of 11.1 billion birr from the little-known-in-Ethiopia Africa Export/Import Bank-Afreximbank (Seyoum, 2013). “In Ethiopia, we are at the moment looking at potash project. It is about $600 million and we are still at the preliminary stage, but we are positive about that,” said Denys Denya, AfrEximBank’s Executive Vice-President for Finance, Administration and Banking Services” (Andualem, 2013).
Getting power-supply to the Danakil depression:
“The study is initiated by the request of Ethiopotash SC for 70MW of power. Ethiopotash, a company established by Dutch investors, is now managed by Yara International, which, in May 2012, upped its share in the company from 16pc to 51pc. Yara International, the Norwegian fertiliser manufacturer, itself is established with a majority share by the Norwegian government” (…) “The area will get power supply from Mekele, Tigray.
“We have studied all options, but Mekelle is better,” Mekuria said. “Since the area is not included under the EPPCo electricity expansion projects, the company will cover the project cost,” he added. However, both Mekuria and WondimuTakele (Eng), state minister for MoWE, say that it is not yet known how much it could cost supplying electricity to the Danakil Depression. The company wants the power supply to be ready for 2014, according to the company’s request” (…) “The project cost of the Danakil Depression concession could reach two billion Birr, according to Hoslestad” (Mesfin, 2012).
The Yara study itself confirms the mining potential in Ethiopia:
“The independent study identified an annual production of 600,000 metric tons sulfate of potash (SOP) over 23 years from reserves (Kainite, Carnallite and Sylvinite) at Yara’s Danakil concession. The company, which aims to begin mining activities in 3Q, 2018, is now seeking equity partners to develop the project” (Yara, 2015).
The potash from Danakil depression goes further:
“The product will be trucked 790 kilometres to Tadjoura, Djibouti, where the project includes a product storage and handling terminal at the new port currently under construction by the Djibouti Port Authority” (Topf, 2015).
Allana Potash getting bought by ICL:
On 22nd June 2015 bought the whole company of 100%, even if it had already bought 16.22% in 2014. So ICL bought the rest now in June 2015. With this trade the ICL get rights to develop the Potash project in Danakil depression. ICL has faith in the Ethiopian government and plans for infrastructure to succeed with the development of the potash mines at the sight in the Afar region of Ethiopia. ICL President & CEO Stefan Borgas, said, “We are delighted to complete our acquisition of Allana Potash and appreciate the strong support of Allana’s Board, management team and shareholders in conducting the process expeditiously. Our purchase of Allana is in line with ICL’s “Next Step Forward” strategy to broaden our sources of raw materials globally and to focus on high growth, emerging markets. Allana gives us a major mining concession in Africa, as well as a talented on-the-ground team with whom we intend to pursue our development of potash resources in Ethiopia. We are excited about the potential of establishing a strong potash platform in the Afar region that will enable us to serve rapidly growing fertilizer markets throughout Ethiopia and Africa, at large, as well as our growing customer base in Asian markets, and which will complement our existing potash operations in Israel, Spain and the UK. We are encouraged by the initial support of our activities by the Ethiopian government, which we trust will be translated into the assistance that we require to fully develop Ethiopia’s natural resources for the benefit of Ethiopia, its farmers and its people, as well as for ICL” (ICL, 2015).
I won’t write much here now. Because this piece is already at a major size, but I look forward to follow the Danakil Depression and see how this industrial and mining adventure will go. How the companies will earn their cash and how the reports from the area will be. Especially how the Ethiopian government will deliver information on the matter, which will be amazing. Because they keep so much information at bay and never really release anything. Hope you got some knowledge and understand better how this is in Afar Region in Ethiopia. Peace.