Mines, Energy and Water Development Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa said the country expected to have its own blending facilities by the end this year and that, the facilities would be set up in Ndola and Lusaka.
“ZAMBIA is expected to have its own facilities for blending ethanol with petrol by the end of 2014, provided Government meets a capital requirement of over K15 million required to establish two such refineries in Ndola and Lusaka,” Ms Mwansa said.
Ms Mwansa said in order to ensure proper quality control, the main blending point for ethanol with petrol in the country would be Indeni petroleum refinery in Ndola.
She said further blending of ethanol and petrol would be done at the bulky storage depots in Lusaka and those being constructed in Mpika, Solwezi and Mongu as well as, other provincial centres.
Other than on experimental basis, Zambia is currently not producing ethanol, hence, the Government will procure the ethanol for blending with petrol from any supplier as an interim measure before local production starts.
Ms Mwansa said both Indeni and the Lusaka depot had no facilities for blending.
“It is estimated that K3.5 million will be required at Indeni and 12.3 million at the Lusaka depot in order to put up blending facilities.Government is mobilising these funds so that blending can begin this year,” Ms Mwansa said.
Pocurement of ethanol will follow the competitive bidding process as stipulated under the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act.
Recently, Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Zambia Sugar, providing a framework under which the two parties will discuss Zambia sugar’s planned project to produce ethanol at its Nakambala estate in Mazabuka.
“The two parties will agree as to how much Zambia sugar will be producing annually and the price at which Government will buy the commodity. From the policy and regulatory perspectives, Zambia is ready to start producing ethanol,” Ms Mwansa added.
She said potential producers were still working on the plans to do so as it is hoped that projects currently under discussion would lead to large scale production of ethanol by 2016.
*James Kunda – Times of Zambia