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1 000 jobs to be created by new biochar plant

The DA led Kouga Municipality recently launched its first-of-its-kind mobile biochar plant in Humansdorp – creating over 1 000 direct and indirect jobs and enhancing water security, while reversing land degradation.

Launched by Hive Energy, the plant, situated on 7.5 hectare of land adjacent to the municipal landfill site along Felix Street in Kruisfontein, is set to produce up to 20 tons of sustainable and commercially viable high-grade biochar per day from biomass obtained from Alien Invasive Vegetation (AIV) growing in the area – including Black Wattle, Blue Gum and Rooikrans.

The harvesting will take place on municipal, as well as private land within a 50km radius of Kruisfontein, while other units will be situated in areas of high AIV infestation predominantly along the coastal belt.

The biochar will be distributed nationally and internationally.

Kouga Executive Mayor, Horatio Hendricks, said, “The municipality has been working for over a year with Hive Carbon, a South African subsidiary of Hive Energy, on this initiative that will bring meaningful investment and long-term sustainable employment, as well as promoting eco-friendly practices in the region.

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“This fit perfectly with our drive to ensure that our local businesses are given a chance to benefit from the investment that Hive is making in the area and that we become the country’s leading bio-economy zone.”

According to Hendricks, harvesting teams sourced by the municipality’s Enterprise Database have already started clearing 70 000m² AIV to set up the Hive Carbon operations and a local contractor has been appointed to initiate the development of the Hive Carbon facility.

“Each unit needs to produce 60 to 100 tons of biomass per day. This would require between eight and 10 teams to harvest this amount of biomass – each team consists of 12 people. There will also be transportation, chipping and production teams,” he said.

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