Scandinavia-based Ethiopian gold exploration and mining company Akobo Minerals has announced details of the pioneer flight to land at a new airstrip which it has funded and built in Dima.
The Super King Air 350 twin-turboprop aircraft carried representatives from Akobo Minerals and the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority on the inaugural flight, which the company described as a seminal moment in the ongoing development of local business and community activities.
Developed over the course of 70 days, which included design, approval and construction, the 1 100-m-long airstrip lies a few kilometres from Akobo Minerals’ mining operation and can accommodate aircraft carrying up to 40 passengers.
Akobo says it will enable the company to bring in goods and personnel more effectively, allow for any medical evacuation and provide a secure transportation route for gold to Addis Ababa prior to onward distribution to international buyers once gold production begins in a few months.
Until now, the nearest airstrip has been located in Jima, at least a six-hour journey by road.
“The opening of our own airstrip is an important landmark for the company and is a clear indication of our capabilities when it comes to major engineering projects as we seek to build out our new mining operation.
“The airstrip is also a significant part of our ongoing environment, social and governance programme as it will also mean access for the local community to important services that the region has never seen before – from a reduction in travel times to access to deliveries of goods and emergency medical assistance,” comments CEO Jørgen Evjen.