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19 Aug 2020

Fidelity Mhlanga, News Day (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe: Cement giant has been discharging abnormal dust emission into the environment

‘EMA shuts Lafarge Cement plant’ 18 August 2020

SWISS-based cement maker Lafarge Holcim local unit, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe was last week ordered to cease operations at its Harare plant by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) on charges of discharging abnormal dust emissions to the environment. EMA environmental education and publicity manager Amkela Sidange said all necessary mitigation measures have been put in place to reduce emission to permissible levels. “The agency observed that the plant was repeatedly discharging dust emissions that are abnormal and generating fugitive dust from the kiln stack and the surrounding plant. To that end, an order was served to Lafarge to cease operations at the kiln stack until all areas of concern have been rectified to the satisfaction of the agency,” Sidange said.

… “Following rigorous engagements and considerations, the agency has since made a variation to the order by allowing LaFarge Cement to resume kiln stack operations but under very strict conditions; and to comply with the conditions of the initial order served,” Sidange said. “One of the conditions is that LaFarge should submit to the agency after every 14 days, returns detailing the daily average concentration of dust emissions from the kiln following the commencement of the operations, including fall out dust at locations to be set up in consultation with the agency.”

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe said it experienced an unexpected surge in dust emissions during a trial of alternative fuel in the plant between July 30 and August 1, adding that immediate action was taken to control and contain the emissions and the incident was reported to EMA in line with regulatory requirements. “We then received a directive from the authority to stop operations earlier in the week and we immediately complied. Subsequent to this, EMA officials came to our site to conduct investigations after which the directive was reviewed subject to the company fulfilling a set of conditions,” Lafarge said in a statement.