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October 9, 2013

Lanxess commissions CO2 concentration unit in South Africa

Gerald Ondrey

Lanxess AG (Cologne, Germany; has commissioned a new CO2 concentration unit at its Newcastle production site in South Africa. Lanxess has invested some €40 million to build the unit, which was completed in just 19 months. The company operates a highly modern plant at the site for the production of sodium dichromate, which is mainly further processed into chrome tanning materials for the global leather industry. The plant is the only one of its kind in South Africa. The production technology requires a continuous supply of highly concentrated CO2, which the new unit will provide.

“This investment in South Africa is another element of our BRICS strategy,” says Rainier van Roessel, member of the Board of Management at Lanxess. “The new unit allows the best possible utilization of capacity at our plant and lays the foundation for future production expansion.” With its own CO2 concentration unit, Lanxess is no longer dependent on the delivery capacity of external suppliers, who have provided the CO2 up to now.

The new concentration unit will capture exhaust air from the site’s steam production process, concentrate the CO2 level up to 99% and feed it into the sodium dichromate production process. “By using our own exhaust air to meet the CO2 demand, we reduce the CO2 emissions of our Newcastle plant by around 25%,” says van Roessel.

Up to 650 employees were involved in the project during the construction period. Furthermore, the investment will create 10 new permanent jobs at the Newcastle site. 

Lanxess is the world’s only company to cover the entire value-added chain for chrome-based leather chemicals. The company operates a chrome ore mine in Rustenburg, making Lanxess independent of external raw material suppliers. The chrome ore is processed in Newcastle into chrome chemicals and delivered to the plant in Merebank, Durban, where Lanxess uses the chrome chemicals for the production of tanning salts for the global leather industry.

 “The investment strengthens our unique value-added chain for chrome-based specialty chemicals here in South Africa and is a clear commitment to this country and the Newcastle site,” says Karl Gassen, managing director of Lanxess (Pty) Ltd. in South Africa.




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