Two coal processing plants are set to begin construction in Gurage Zone and Assosa, as announced by Takele Uma, minister of Mines & Petroleum, during foundation-laying ceremonies held three days apart this past week. In the Gurage Zone, the first is a coal washing and processing plant being erected by SUN Mining and Trading Plc, a subsidiary of the Sunshine Investment Group, projected to be finalised in 10 months with a capacity to process 800,000tn of coal annually. The other one in Assosa, being developed by NOC Ethiopia is projected to be finalised in 11 months. The Minister stated that several other companies are expected to join the coal production business in different parts of the country to boost overall production capacity to 2.5 million tonnes annually. Ethiopia spends over 200 million dollars a year on importing coal for cement production and energy generation.