Biofuel boost for Namibia's only cement company, Ohorongo Cement

Byrebecca3360

Updated Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:01:30 GMT

Namibia: Namibia's Ohorongo Cement plant plans to use blackthorn as biofuel for cement production. The company sources some 30% of its energy requirements from biofuel and plans to raise this figure to 80%.

"In the long term we will be very competitive," said Ohorongo Cement's chairman, Gerhard Hirth. Not having to rely on coal and oil imports, Ohorongo Cement will be able to keep energy costs down while making a positive contribution to the environment.

Hirth has invested US$340m in the 600,000t/yr capacity Ohorongo Cement plant. Some 500,000t/yr is sold on the domestic market and the rest is exported to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Ohorongo Cement employs 330 people directly and 2500 indirectly.

Ohorongo Cement is currently under threat from a new market player. In order to side-step the 60% levy on cement imports into the country, a Chinese cement producer has recently begun operations at its own plant in Namibia. According to Hirth, Ohorongo Cement has lost more than Euro30m and is undertaking legal proceedings against its rival.