LISTED sugar refiner starafricacorporation has invested US$300 000 in a water treatment plant for its own operations.
Municipal water supplies are irregular and experts have condemned borehole water after it emerged that more than 90 percent of what was being pumped out of the ground in Harare was contaminated.
This has seen starafricacorporation start installing a 40 cubic-metre-per-hour reverse osmosis water treatment plant at its premises in Workington, Harare.
The sugar firm’s CEO Mr Regis Mutyiri said the water plant would be complete by the end of May 2017.
“To this effect, starafrica has sunk six boreholes to augment the sometimes erratic Harare City water supply. The company is, therefore, acquiring a water treatment plant to treat the hard borehole water, and manufacture of the 40 cubic-metre-per-hour reverse osmosis water treatment plant is in progress.
“The landed cost of the plant is US$300 000. The plant will ensure availability of good quality water to the process during outages and low pressure situations on the municipal supply network.
“The municipal supply in the Workington area is dogged by numerous interruptions resulting from pipe bursts and pumping equipment failures,” said Mr Mutyiri.
Last year, companies struggled to get constant water supplies due to El Nino-induced drought, but this year local authorities are struggling to treat water to usable standards as a result of incessant rains.
Mr Mutyiri said, “The majority of this water is being used for steam generation. The new plant will ensure that water from boreholes on site is de-mineralised and made suitable for use in boilers and heat exchangers in the plant.
“This will enhance efficiencies by reducing fuel consumption on boilers and improving the efficiency of heat transfer in the process.”
The firm expects integration of the new plant to increase sugar production to 600 tonnes per day from 400 tonnes.
Demand for sugar has been rising after Government removed the product from the General Import Licence in November 2015.