P200 million Chemicals plant sets up in Phikwe

  • Will produce Sodium Metabisulphite (SMBS) and Phosphoric acid for uptake by the mining industry.
  • Will unlock value chain opportunities running in billions of pulas
  • Botash to supply the plant with raw material (Soda Ash)
  • Railway line from Sowa connecting into Phikwe at Serule to be revamped

The Projects | Industrial Chemicals

Just a few months after the ground-breaking of the multimillion pula Oxygas facility in Selebi Phikwe, on the 26th of September 2022, SPEDU convened stakeholders again for the ground-breaking of yet another multimillion pula industrial chemicals manufacturing plant.

Officiated by Assistant Minister of Trade & Industry, Ms Beauty Manake, the event marked another massive milestone in the industrialisation and resuscitation of the Selebi Phikwe economy as international investors Kenmore and Vinmart hit the ground to set up a world-class chemical manufacturing facility in the eastern margin capital.

Minister Manake said the plant will benefit the country’s economy and hundreds of Batswana countrywide. “This development is in line with our Government’s Reset Agenda Priority #4 of Value Chain Development in the Mining Industry, which will accelerate our country towards the realisation of the Vision 2036 of achieving a High Class economic status and a diversified economy,” she said.

Kemcore and Vinmart is investing BWP 200 million, to build a manufacturing and export enterprise in the production of Sodium Metabisulphite (SMBS) and Phosphoric acid with the global mining industry standards.

Phase 1 of the project will see the construction of a factory that will produce 50,000 tonnes of Sodium Metabisulphite per annum and 12,000 tonnes Phosphoric Acid per annum, respectively.

These products will serve directly as chemical inputs in the mining operations that produce cobalt, contributing immensely to the global transition towards green energy. Cobalt is a key component in making of electric vehicles’ storage batteries.

Kemcore, incorporated in Botswana in 2017 started operating in Hong Kong back in 2007. To date, the company has presence in Mainland China, South Africa, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia and the UAE.

Kemcore will partner with Vinmart Group to develop this SMBS and Phosphoric acid manufacturing plant in Phikwe, the first of its kind in Botswana. Vinmart group has mining operations in the DRC under its subsidiaries Somika and Kisanfu which produce products such as copper, cobalt, tin, tungsten and tantalum.

The construction phase will see erection of an administration office block, raw materials and finished products warehouses, weighbridge, workers change rooms and dining facilities creating hundreds of jobs in addition to other services that will be sourced from local suppliers in and around Selibe Phikwe area.

After phase 1 of the project, there will be approximately 70 jobs created, of which after all the phases are completed will culminate into 150 permanent positions.

The associated supply value chain with this project will be realised in the employment of local security companies, catering, transport and logistics and other services which will also be sourced in and around Selibe-Phikwe area.

This project will also see a revamp in the railway line between Serule and Phikwe as a route to transport raw materials from Sowa Town to the plant with hope that finished products will use the same route to cut down on transportation costs hence giving a dry port infrastructure development opportunity by the private sector.

Botash will contribute 57 percent of the raw materials in the form of soda ash while other components of the raw materials such as sulphur will be imported from the Middle East with high prospects of using sulphur mined locally in the near future.

The benefits of this project will not only impact Selibe Phikwe but also the whole country as per the value chain development from Soda Ash in Sowa Town – Cobalt Cleaning Chemicals in Selibe-Phikwe. 

SMBS and Phosphoric products have a ready market available around the globe, with major mines in the DRC and Southern Africa. SMBS is used as a chemical agent in recovering cobalt which is used in the manufacturing of batteries.

The SMBS is a green energy product which is in alignment with the green economy. On completion of the plant in the next 9-12 months, exporting of the SMBS product will commence immediately.

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