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Company on 300 mln birr expansion, eyes mining

 

  • Nation makes first ever aluminum export

Kality-based B & C Aluminum PLC is undergoing a 300-million-birr expansion project with a view to diversifying its products and catering to a wider clientele – both domestic and foreign.

 The expansion project, made possible following a grant of 7,000 sq. m. of adjacent land from the Addis Ababa City Administration, is expected to be completed within six months and new machinery would be installed that would eventually enable the plant to diversify its products and upgrade its current annual production capacity from 6,000 to 24,000 tons, Biruk Haile, owner and managing director of the company, told The Reporter last week.

In related news, the company last week began shipping aluminum profile to Egypt, a first for a local company.

After competing in an international bid issued by an Egyptian company for aluminum products, the Ethiopian company had been chosen for its product quality in its first foray into the overseas market, company owner and managing director, Biruk Haile, told The Reporter.

At an event B & C organized to mark the official export ceremony, State Minister of Industry Alemu Simie lauded the achievements of the company for earning much-needed dollars at a time when Ethiopia is battling with “critical” shortage of foreign currency.

“You [B & C] have not only been pioneer in setting up the first factory in Ethiopia that assisted the nation in import substitution, but also made history by exporting ‘Made in Ethiopia’ aluminum products at a critical time when foreign currency has become a matter of death and life for the government to sustain its ongoing development activities,” the state minister said.

Similarly, Workneh Dessalegn, director general of Metals Development Agency, on his part, praised the company’s achievements in establishing the first plant in the country without the need for much support from the government when compared to others that are deemed strategic manufacturers.

“In our evaluation, B & C has not been in the groups that usually were receiving our support. I had visited the factory five years ago for the first time and was so impressed by the owners of the plant who dared to establish an aluminum plant in the country,” the director general said, adding that “I have never been as happy as that very day and also by their taking the initiative to export while we were looking for markets in Sudan and Somalia.”

Highlighting the company’s first ever sale of its products to a foreign market, Biruk told The Reporter that his company clinched a deal to supply 600 tons of aluminum profile worth over USD 1.6 million to a Cairene buyer.

Over the past few years, B & C has been extruding aluminum profiles from its plant and distributing it on the local market -- mostly used for finishing work at construction sites.

Meanwhile, Biruk  told The Reporter that his company is conducting consultations with the Ministry of Mining and Natural Gas (MoMNG) to sort out issues in aluminum mining and extracting. He further indicated that the company has already hired a geological surveying company (Addis Geo Technic) to conduct road map and study potential exploration areas where abundant mineral deposits are potentially located.