Fertilisers producer Sable Chemicals to invest $25mln over next two years

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By Staff Reporter

KWEKW: The country’s sole ammonium nitrate manufacturer Sable Chemicals plans to invest about $25 million over the next two years in a bid to ramp up production, management has revealed.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Bothwell Nyajeka recently told Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima that Sable Chemicals seeks to, this year, produce 60% of the country’s fertilizer’s.

“Our target production for 2019 is 100,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which will account for 60% of the country’s fertilisers,” he said.

“We will invest $25 million in 2019/20 and our aim is that, by 2020, we should be able to produce 150,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and then, by 2022, wrapping up to 200,000 tonnes.

“In 2023 our big project is actualising ammonium making and urea production.”

The company also intends to localise the sourcing of ammonia gas which is currently being imported from neighbouring South Africa.

However, for the production targets to be met, Sables will depend on the exploitation of coal-bed methane at Lupane or natural gas which can be exploited locally or in Mozambique.

“That will allow us to bring ammonium making plant which will produce ammonia for us to be able to operate at full capacity locally and urea for export,” said Nyajeka.

“We do not export but play an important role in the export value chain and our key issue is to be able to supply ammonium nitrate solution and competitive prices at affordable prices.”

The agro-chemical company has been struggling in terms of capacity utilisation which had fallen to unsustainable.

This was largely due to the shortage of foreign currency which is needed for the importation of ammonium gas, a critical input.

At full capacity the company produces 240,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.