Chinese experts expected at Sable Chemicals

Chinese experts expected at Sable Chemicals
Published: 22 April 2014
A team of Chinese experts to undertake a coal gasification project at the country's sole ammonium nitrate (AN) manufacturer, Sable Chemicals, is expected at the beginning of next month to start work on the technical design of the new technology, a senior company official has said.

The Kwekwe-based company shelved the coal gasification project it was supposed to carry out in December last year to replace the electrolysis plant due to funding constraints.

Sable seeks to switch from electrolysis technology commissioned in the early 1970s which consumes a lot of power to the new technology that generates its own electricity during the manufacture of hydrogen, a major component in the production of ammonia.

The fertiliser company requires at least $600 million for the successful implementation of the project.

Sable Chemicals chief executive officer Jack Murehwa said the change of technology for the Kwekwe plant was imminent.

He said the coming of the Chinese experts was a step in that direction.

"Change of technology for the production of ammonia at Sable is imminent because it has to happen for the continuation of local production of nitrogenous fertilisers.

"Sable continues to work on the coal gasification project as this has the shortest time horizon. We are expecting our Chinese project experts in the country next month to start working on the detailed project definitions."

The top dressing fertiliser manufacturer gobbles an average of 80 megawatts of electricity per month which makes it the biggest single power consumer in the country.

Adopting a new technology will result in Sables weaning itself from the national grid.

The Kwekwe-based company is operating at 40 percent capacity utilisation and employs close to 500 workers.

Sable produces between 70,000 to 80,000 tonnes of AN fertiliser monthly.

The company has the potential to reach production capacity of up to 240,000 tonnes of the commodity per month which is enough to meet the country's demand.
- chronicle
Tags: Sable,


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