CAIRO: Minister of Environment Laila Iskander met with the scientific advisor of the president, Essam Haggy, on Wednesday, to discuss the impact of importing coal for use in the cement industry.
Essam Haggy, as head of the Energy Committee, is tasked with a preliminary study on coal consumption that gathers input from various ministries. After the report is completed next week, the ministry will finalize its position on allowing the cement industry to use coal, said Minister Iskander on Tuesday.
Iskander added that the import of coal has not yet been banned but that the ministry would decide whether import for industrial use would be permissible or prohibited based on the findings of the study.
Cement factories are currently running on natural gas, which causes a much less heavy burden on the environment than the usage of coal would do.
However, Mohamed el-Bahi, board member of the Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) said Jan. 24, that coal was the only alternative to avoiding a possible energy crisis. Bahi asked Minister Iskander to approve coal use in cement factories, saying that the dangers of its use could be avoided through following international standards.
Amidst a rising fuel crisis, Minister Iskander took legislative measures on Feb. 15 against three of the largest cement manufacturers in Egypt for illegally opening new production lines that would depend on coal. Seven other ministries met with the Ministry of Environment in solidarity to reject the use of coal as a substitute for other fuels and to find alternative energy sources.
Originally published in Youm7.