- Lafarge to Support Power Generation Efforts
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has called on Lafarge Africa to support the government’s drive towards ensuring adequate power generation and distribution in industrial hubs.
Fayemi, who made the request during a recent working visit to Lafarge Africa’s Ewekoro cement plant in Ogun State, said the company’s effort at generating sufficient power for its operations across the country through the use of biomass was commendable.
Lafarge had revealed that it was recycling palm kernel shells as biomass to generate power for the kilns used in cement making.
According to the minister, the use of biomass saves money that would have been used to buy fuel and foreign exchange, adding that the power from the biomass plant would generate half of the energy used in firing the kilns.
The minister said, “An environment-friendly production site is something to take away from Lafarge Africa here in Ogun State, and I hope there are lessons to take on board. That is not to say that coal should not be used, because we have coal in Nigeria that will also save us foreign exchange.
“Power is an essential need for us in Nigeria; we are desperately in need of adding more generation of power in order to fuel all these plants that are developing, and Ogun State is a major destination for industries; there are so many industries that are setting up here; Ogun State ranks first in terms of siting of new plants.”
The Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Michel Puchercos, said the effects of the slowdown in the economy prompted the company to seek an alternative means to generate energy for its Ewekoro and other plants.
“We realised last year that dollar was scarce and energy was also scarce in Nigeria. So, the company reacted very strongly, how can we do both? We wanted to do both, that is, keeping on producing and saving energy and US dollars. This is how the idea of using biomass came,” he explained.
According to him, Ogun State, being an agriculture hub, made it possible for the company to produce 50 per cent power from biomass in 2016, which has grown to between 70 and 80 percent.