Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tongaat to set up 30 million litre ethanol plant

Tongaat to set up 30 million litre ethanol plant

Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
ZIMBABWE’S giant sugar producer, Tongaat Hulett, is seeking a licence to set up a 30 million-litre ethanol project meant for fuel blending, an official has confirmed.

Once approved, the project is envisaged to help ease the country’s energy shortage and ensure more affordable fuel pricing.

The company’s general manager Sydney Mutsambiwa told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Land, Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development in Chiredzi recently that his firm was ready to start the multimillion dollar project.

Christopher Chitindi, MP for Muzarabani South, who chairs the committee, said Tongaat was already producing ethanol, which they were exporting and sought to increase their capacity to sustain the local market.

The investment is seen as a game changer in Masvingo province’s economy in terms of job creation and infrastructure development.

It will be the second such venture in the country after the Chisumbanje Ethanol plant run by the government and a private player.

“We’ve moved a step further in an attempt to assist the government with petrol blending. We’ve applied for a licence to produce about 30 million litres of ethanol for petrol blending per annum,” said Mutsambiwa.

“The total capacity we’ve is 41 million litres but we’ve put 30 million for the meantime. The amount of investment will be made privy to the media once the licence has been approved. We’re optimistic that our application will see the light of the day.”

He confirmed the company was already exporting ethanol to South Africa and other countries in the region.

“We’re already in the business of producing ethanol at our plant specifically for export. We sat down and considered our capacity to assist the country hence we’ve made an application to the government to secure licence for the massive project.

“The price on the foreign market is $0,60 per litre and we’re only waiting for the licence to start a massive production. We can’t sell it locally because we’re yet to be granted a licence,” Mutsambiwa added.

He said the envisaged project would create jobs in the province.

The company also plans to partner government in the completion of the multi-million Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam project, which is in limbo due to funding constraints.

The dam is 80 percent complete after progress stalled over a $57 million government debt to the Italian contractor, Salini Impregillio.

The dam has a holding capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres of water.

About $30 million is needed to complete it.

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