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Sable Chemicals imports ammonia to cut power usage
28/11/2015 00:00:00
by Midlands Correspondent
 
Power usage ... Industry minister Mike Bimha
 
RELATED STORIES

KWEKWE based ammonium nitrate fertiliser manufacturer, Sable Chemicals, has resorted to importing ammonia to reduce power demand to a maximum of 10 megawatts, Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha, has said.

Ammonia is the main raw material used in the manufacture of ammonium nitrate fertilizer through the electrolysis technology.

Before the importation of ammonia, Sable Chemicals required 90 megawatts of electricity to produce ammonia.

"In the short to medium term as you (Sable Chemicals) have outlined in your presentation you are now importing ammonia, which you had done before in between 1969 and 1972 before the commissioning of the electrolysis plant," Bimha said Friday during a working visit to the company.

After concerns on electricity usage by Sable Chemicals, the firm reached an agreement with government and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to discontinue using electrolysis technology to manufacture ammonia.

"As you have outline following this understanding, Sable Chemicals has now redesigned its business model and is now manufacturing ammonium nitrate using imported ammonia only thereby reducing its fluctuating demand for electricity to a maximum of 10 megawatts," said Bimha.

According to Sable Chemicals, the firm increased the number of tank cars used to ferry ammonia from 90 to 145 to increase the volume of ammonia imports in a bid to avert the shortage of ammonium nitrate in the country.

Sable Chemicals temporarily shut down in October this year after Energy and Power Development Minister, Samuel Undenge, said major mining companies and other heavy power consumers like Sable Chemicals, had to reduce consumption by up to 25 percent.

The company reportedly owes $150 million in unpaid bills to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC).



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