Tanzania Portland Cement Company, majority owned by Heidelberg Cement has been order by the country’s environmental agency to close until air pollution issues at the plant are fixed and a fine paid to the government body.
The move follows residents’ complaints about soot from the plant’s chimneys. The cement works, ocally known as Twiga Cement, is one of Tanzania’s largest and produces two million tonnes a year for domestic and foreign markets.
The National Environment Management Council says the plant has been emitting cement powder through its chimneys, causing serious consequences to residents surrounding the plant.
Announcing the suspension, Senior Legal Environment Heche Suguta said: “Beside suspension, TPCC has been ordered to pay Sh50million. The permit to proceed with production would be issued after rectifying cement powder disposing infrastructure” he said.
Suguta said the penalty imposed should be settled within seven days, failure which other legal punitive measures will be instituted.
“This is a clear lesson to cement companies and other companies operating in the country that do not take environmental issues to concern” he said.
He said the council has issued several reminders to the company to fix the problems.
On Thursday, Tanzania Portland Cement’s managing director and area manager East Africa, Alfonso Rodriguez said the dust cement was originating from the old plant which was until yesterday in operational following filters fault at the new plant.
“We are still working on the problem to fix the filters. We have already ordered the filters and it may take a month to arrive in the country” he said speaking to journalists.