Rwanda’s sole cement manufacturer CIMERWA is set to benefit from peat mining, a venture that has been undertaken by Rwanda Investment Group (RIG).
This was established following the successful testing of the energy source as an alternative to the high cost fuel which has been predominantly used in the production of cement.
Peat which has been appraised as a competent alternative energy to replace the high cost and ever fluctuating Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), is currently mined at Gishoma in Rusizi district from a 144 hectare deposit by a newly created RIG company called Peat Energy Company.
In an interview with The New Times, at the cement plant in Rusizi, CIMERWA Manufacturing Manager, Jean Claude Bushuri, said that their target is to use at least 70 per cent of peat energy at the expense of fuel as a way of cutting the heavy expenditures on HFO.
"We have been incurring a lot of production costs on fuel to burn the clinker, but with this new initiative, fuel usage in cement production will be limited to 30 percent," he noted.
Asked if the trimmed production cost would lead to a reduction in the retail price of cement, Bushuri observed that it is was too early to speculate.
"We cannot estimate what the lowered price will be, but with costs of production cut, there will definitely be a reduction in cement prices," he noted
The Minister of State for Environment and Mines, Vincent Karega, who was on a visit to the peat project, acknowledged the progress by RIG in peat mining, and observed that it will be a huge relief on the cost of cement production.
"RIG is doing a commendable job in this project. The annual Rwf7 billion which has been going on fuel purchase to burn cement substances has been huge, the energy alternative of peat is a big relief," said Karega.
Peat production at Gishoma started in 2008 and so far 56 hectares have been harvested and by October this year, an estimated 20,000 tons had been extracted.
There are two other peat deposits in Masya (20.8 hectares) and Gihitasi (23 hectares) and plans are underway to have them exploited.