PPC LTD has announced a review of its Western Cape capacity expansion programme and the resultant withdrawal of its environmental application for the original programme. The revised programme will see PPC upgrading and increasing capacity at its existing Riebeeck operation and its De Hoek operation near Piketberg instead of building a single new factory.
The upgrade of existing plant will increase capacity in the Western Cape by approximately 50% up to 2016. The upgrade plan will allow PPC to increase capacity with lower impact on the surrounding communities and the environment and at a lower capital outlay. The new plan requires phased expenditure of R3 billion over 6 years as opposed to the original plans' R4.5 billion over 4 years.
"The original design was done during a period of peak demand and cement shortages. The economic landscape and capacity requirements have changed significantly since then. Pending legislative changes will make it more onerous to withdraw environmental applications in future, hence our withdrawal of the original application now. With the revised plan we will still achieve our original objectives with regard to environmental standards, energy efficiency and capacity expansion in the Western Cape region but in phases and over a longer time" said PPC CEO, Paul Stuiver. "Our dedication to our surrounding communities remains unchanged and we will continue to champion local employment and skills development as part of our ongoing commitment and as part of the new plan."
The new expansion programme would not result in any job losses at the PPC operations. Additionally, PPC's commitment to Social and Labour projects the Western Cape remains unchanged. Recently the company completed construction of a crèche and of classrooms at the Meiring and Riebeeck West primary schools in Riebeeck West and a number of classrooms at the Steytlerville Primary school in De Hoek. During August the company will be unveiling the completion of a Water Works at the Wittewater community near Piketberg.
Commenting on the impact that the new programme will have, Stuiver said: '"The new phased approach will still incorporate best available technology to meet World-class Environmental Standards with specific focus on energy efficiency. The programme will also result in more traffic being routed onto the national road and therefore have less impact on the smaller surrounding towns. There will also be less visual impact."
PPC will commence with a new environmental authorisation process and will continue to engage with all the affected communities in the Riebeeck West and Piketberg regions regarding the new programme.