The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) finished preparing terms of references and regulations for new cement factories wanting to operate by using coal as a source of energy.
A total number of 37 companies applied for the cement licenses, according to an IDA statement Saturday. Head of IDA Ismail Gaber said the new licenses aim to increase investments in the cement industry to meet local consumption.
Minister of Industry Tarek Qabil announced in January the issuing of licenses to establish 14 new coal-fired cement factories in nine governorates – Beni Suef, Minya, Qena, Sohag, Aswan, New Valley, Suez, Marsa Matruh, and South Sinai – to produce 28m tonnes of cement annually.
The deadline for receiving offers from companies is 10 May.
South Valley Cement Company agreed earlier this month to cooperate with Chinese firm Sinoma CDI to convert its facility to rely on coal as an energy source at a total cost of $19.5m (EGP 108m) with a grinding capacity of 50 tonnes per hour.
In April 2015, Mehleb officially outlined the regulations for coal use, two years after discussions began in the wake of a significant natural gas shortage.
Several companies already converted some of their production lines to coal in 2015 including Suez Cement, Titan Cement, and Arabian Cement. Amreyah Cement also allocated new investments to convert production lines to be fuelled by coal within this year at a total cost of €60m (EGP 510m).
Egypt has 23 cement production companies that produce around 70m-75m tonnes of cement per year. Throughout 2015, the prices of cement have remained considerably stable.
A recent lawsuit was filed by the residents in Wady El-Qamar, Alexandria against Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy, the governor of Alexandria, and Titan Cement Egypt for using coal in their cement production.
The residents claimed the use of coal creates hazardous emissions, which have seriously affected their health, given that the group’s cement plant is located very close to residential areas.