Nampak’s energy-efficient glass furnace was officially opened in Roodekop, Gauteng by South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and Nampak’s Chief Executive Officer, André de Ruyter.

The R1.2 billion ($187.5 million) furnace, which is the third at Nampak Glass, will increase the plant’s capacity to 295, 000 tons per year and create about 140 direct jobs. Nampak has already secured long-term contracts to supply customers with a mix of glass bottles and jars.

“Of the R1.2 billion invested in the third furnace, 50% was spent on developing the building in South Africa and the balance was used to buy the furnace equipment in Europe,” said Mr de Ruyter.

In 2010, Nampak opened a R160 million cullet processing plant, which processes about 80, 000 tons of cullet a year, procured from 4,000 SMMEs.

Once production at the third furnace ramps up so too will demand for cullet, creating a cycle of opportunity for SMMEs and informal waste collectors alike, while limiting the impact of waste on the environment.

Currently cullet replaces up to 55% of the requirement for virgin raw material at the factory.

The third furnace is one of the most environmentally friendly and technologically advanced of its kind in the world.

Emissions, energy, waste and water are all managed efficiently, with improved flexibility in terms of colour, shape and light-weighting of final products.

Specific features include cullet batch preheating from waste gases, a closed-loop water purification system and an ESP filter that reduces emissions. One of South Africa’s largest Rotary Uninterrupted Power Supply (RUPS) has also been installed on the site, removing the risks of power outages and surges.

“In the past year, Nampak has spent approximately R2.5 billion on a number of capital projects, the majority of which were in South Africa.

"More will be spent in the future, mainly on refurbishing and upgrading existing operations in order for us to remain competitive in the face of increasing competition and cost pressure,” said Mr de Ruyter.

Nampak Glass is considering both greenfield and brownfield growth opportunities in the regions of West and East Africa.