The cabinet has directed the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment to study the use of coal in cement plants, expecting that by September 2014, cement plants in Egypt will start using coal after meeting all necessary environmental criteria, which will be announced by the Ministry of Environment in 15 days, says the minister of trade, industry, and investment.
Energy shortages are responsible for recent lower rates of cement production, causing a wave of higher prices for cement, the cabinet said Monday in an official statement.
In January, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company reduced gas supply to cement facilities by 50 percent, which resulted in an equal percentage of decline in cement production, said Medhat Stephanos, head of the cement industry at the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FDI), in a meeting on Sunday with Interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, Minister of Energy and Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail, Minister of Environmental Affairs Leila Iskander, and Omar Mehana, a board member at FDI.
During the meeting, Mehleb stressed the necessity of lowering the heightened price of cement due to its impact on the cost of implementing projects in the construction sector.
According to the statement, the attendees discussed possible means of addressing the energy challenges, pointing out the need to diversify energy sources and expand the usage of new and renewable energy.
The ministry also stated that the use of coal as a source of energy is currently under study. Cement companies have also promised to increase production to maximum capacities or increase the market’s supply and reduce prices, according to the statement.