Project to build ethanol factory in Mozambique at a standstill

7 September 2011

Maputo, Mozambique, 7 Sept – The project to build a factory to manufacture ethanol from sugar cane molasses, in Dombe, in the Sussundenga district of Manica province, is at a standstill, said Mozambique’s Centre for Agricultural Promotion (Cepagri).

Approved in 2008, the project drawn up by Mozambique Principle Energy and estimated to cost US$280 million outlines, along with the construction of the factory itself, an area of 18,000 hectares for growing sugar cane and setting up four irrigation pumps as well as construction of social facilities such as schools, health centres, water supply and electricity.

Construction work on the factory was due to have begun in 2010 and conclusion was scheduled for 2013 but, according to daily newspaper Notícias, it may begin this year.

The biofuel programme coordinator at Cepagri, Hélio Neves, said that the project was being reconsidered.

“The latest information that we have shows that the company is undergoing a phase of restructuring and the project is being adjusted, specifically in the investment component, and we do not have a clear idea of what is happening,” he said.

Three years ago Mozambique Principle Energy started production of sugar cane, and it was expected that by the end of 2011 there would be enough sugar cane to justify construction of what would become the first factory of its kind in the country.

Since 2007, when the Mozambican government decided to focus on biofuels in order to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, several projects have been approved an many have yet to show any results, with the exception of Sunbiofuel, Associação de Bilibiza, which has the support of non-governmental organisation ADPP and of Petromoc.

Since the beginning of the international financial crisis in 2008 many projects have been adjusted or have come to a halt due to a lack of resources.

Mozambique Principle Energy is the Mozambican subsidiary of United Kingdom-based group Principle Energy and involves investors from Mozambique and from Mauritius. (macauhub)