Portland to switch to coal

Portland to switch to coal
Published: 16 August 2007

East Africa Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) will shift its energy source to coal to cut down power bills and operation costs.

The move by the cement maker follows recent discovery of coal deposits in parts of Kenya. Coal, which could bridge the electricity gap that is starting to widen because of an expanding economy, is tipped to change the country’s energy security situation. Significant coal deposits have been found in more than a half of the wells drilled so far in sections of Kitui and Makueni districts, according to details of a report prepared by the Ministry of Energy. Samples from the area that were analysed in South Africa recently have returned a positive report on the quality of the coal, which is in some ways is reportedly comparable or better than that found in South Africa.

EAPCC’s power consumption is set to go up with the commissioning of a fifth mill that will increase the company’s annual capacity from the current 720,000Mt to about 1.4Mt of cement.

Speaking at the Athi River plant during the commissioning of the construction of the mill, the company chairman, Mr Benson Ndeta, said electricity consumed between 45 and 50 per cent of the company’s total input.

In Kenya, most of the coal is used by cement manufacturers and is mainly imported from South Africa. Bamburi Cement, uses over 150,000t of coal every year mainly from South Africa.