Wilmar embarks on construction of US$81m crude vegetable oil refinery in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA – Construction of the R1.3 billion (US$81m) Wilmar Processing South Africa project, subsidiary of Asia’s leading agribusiness group Wilmar International is set to start this month with completion to be in April 2022.

The crude vegetable oil refining facility at Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone (RBIDZ) would be used to produce cooking oil, mayonnaise and margarine.

“The construction programme will have many benefits for the communities in and around Richards Bay. Following extensive discussions with RBIDZ and our commitment to partner with communities wherein we operate, Wilmar Processing SA (Pty) Ltd has committed to spend 30% of the project value in Richards Bay and the surrounding areas,” said Wilmar Processing SA’s project director Donovan Matlala.

This means that the SMMEs would have an opportunity to participate as sub-contractors or suppliers of services and equipment to the project.

“These opportunities include the supply of temporary structures (offices, ablution facilities, etc.), plant hire and accommodation. Sub-contractors will also have an opportunity to tender on piling, site clearance and fencing, roads, pipe fabrication and erection and the erection of tanks and non-process buildings,” he said.

The facility would boast features that include a refinery, a fractionator, a shortening plant, packaging & warehouse and a tank farm.

It will also have an effluent treatment plant, water treatment plant, a coal yard and boilers.

The buildings will include an engineering workshop, an administration building, employee change rooms, clinic, canteen and a security office.

Matlala said that upon completion, the facility would employ not less than two hundred employees.

The plant is set to use natural lighting and solar energy for non-process buildings. Solar panels will also be installed on the warehouse rooftop expected to provide 1MW energy.

Furthermore, energy-efficient equipment would be used on the facility and the plant would be controlled with a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) to minimise wastage and hence energy use.

Energy consumption will be minimized by using exhaust streams for heating up cold process streams; and streetlights and weighbridges will also be powered by solar energy.

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