Petrochemicals group Sasol completed a 13.6 billion rand ($1 billion) expansion of a wax plant in South Africa that will boost its annual production, the firm said on Tuesday.
Sasol, the world’s top maker of motor fuel from coal, has increasingly diversified into chemicals, gas and clean energy projects, in part to meet a global shift to low-carbon products.
The project to produce wax, used in adhesives and printing, is one of the company’s largest investments in South Africa. It was funded through Sasol’s own cash and is part of a strategy expands its chemicals businesses.
Sasol said it aimed to ramp up production to 137,000 tonnes per annum of wax within the next two years at the Sasolburg site, 100 km (62 miles) south of Johannesburg.
Sasol produced 63,000 tonnes of wax in the six months to the end of December.
The wax, which will be exported, is used in hot melt adhesives to seal cereal boxes or milk cartons and in printing ink products such as 3D printing, adhesives, inks, paints, candles and emulsions.
The company, mostly known for pioneering the conversion of coal to fuel, also produces gas-to-liquids and polymers used for packaging materials among other uses.
Sasol Co-Chief Executive Officer Bongani Nqwababa said production was running ahead of schedule.
The company began construction of the plant in 2015.
“With completion of this project, South Africa is now one of the leading countries of wax production globally,” he said.
($1 = 12.0759 rand)
Editing by James Macharia and Edmund Blair (Reuters)