Munyaradzi Musiiwa Midlands Bureau
THE country’s sole ammonium nitrate (AN) manufacturer, Sable Chemical Industries, is targeting to produce about 240 000 tonnes of fertiliser annually by 2019, an official has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of a plant tour yesterday, Sable Chemicals chief executive officer Mr Bothwell Nyajeka said the company had a long-term plan of producing 240 000 tonnes of AN every year by the end of 2019. Mr Nyajeka said if there are no disturbances in the disbursement of foreign currency by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Sable Chemicals will produce 90 000 tonnes of AN this year.
“We received a substantial amount of foreign currency from Government for the importation of AN towards the end of last year. Most of our fertiliser is consumed by Government under the Presidential Input Support Scheme Programme. This year, we are looking forward to producing 90 000 tonnes of AN.
“From January to July, we want to produce 57 000 tonnes of AN and the remaining 33 would be manufactured between August and December. Our long term plan is to produce 240 000 tonnes per year by next year,” he said.
Mr Nyajeka said the country could save more than $32 million once the company starts producing 240 000 tonnes of AN fertiliser per year. He said 240 000 tonnes will meet the annual local demand.
“After meeting the local demand, we will export the surplus. There is market for AN fertiliser in Zambia and Malawi,” he said.
Mr Nyajeka said for Sable Chemicals to start producing 240 000 tonnes per year, the company requires at least $2,8 million per month. Sable Chemicals is importing ammonia, a key component in the production of AN, from South Africa following the decommissioning of its obsolete electrolysis plant. Mr Nyajeka said the company was looking forward to start using coal bed methane in the production of AN.
The Kwekwe-based company switched off its electrolysis plant and was importing ammonia from South Africa that would be fed into the AN manufacturing plant, which has the energy consumption capacity of 10 megawatts compared to 115 MW consumed by the electrolysis plant.
Sable Chemicals has a staff compliment of 300.