By Shaimaa El-Badawy, Fatma Hassan and Samira Saeed
Cement factory owners said the specifications set by the Ministry of Environment on trade, transport, coal storage, and within the energy mix, are stricter than the European specifications.
They added that the government must provide and equip ports to be used for coal in the next period.
Farouk Mostafa Mohamed, Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Misr Beni Suef Cement Co, said there are obstacles in applying the mechanisms set by the Ministry of Environment. Mostafa added that the state has to equip ports with the requirements for the coal factories’ demands in the next period.
Companies within populated areas will have to settle their situation, and the government has to provide new places for these companies, according to Mostafa.
Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy emphasised that the most significant standards and conditions for coal trading include that port authorities receiving oil supervise the secure trading of coal in the port. The condition is that the loading and discharge companies should be responsible for the commitment to the environmental standards and conditions.
As per the regulations of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), representatives of the agency and river and sea authorities have the right to enter the port to supervise and take the necessary legal procedures in case of violation.
He added that companies and entities that trade coal as well as port authorities are under environmental observation and record, as stated in articles 22 and 24 of the Environment Law 4/1994.
It is also prohibited to store coal outside the licensed places or using it without environmental approvals, as per the study evaluating the environmental impact.
Fahmy said that conditions on briquette or petroleum coke trade in all ports or storage stations include unloading coal from ships to trucks using different transport methods.
Unloading coal on the pavements of operation spaces is also prohibited, even if temporary. Coal must not be unloaded in the El-Mekhtaf area unless there is permission from an administrative authority in order to protect the water environment. As for storage, it must be in stacks.
Railway transportation will be set by the administrative authority as the method for transporting coal. Companies trading coal have to establish loading stations for coal inside the train carriage so as to limit the dust emissions.
As for the standards and specifications for using certain amounts of coal, the minister stated that amounts will be determined annually for the cement and electricity production facilities on the basis of the convenient thermal energy rate for producing these amounts.
Coal must not be burnt for industrial purposes or for the purpose of generating energy of any kind in any populated areas. Facilities using coal are permitted to import packed coal. Facilities permitted to use coal are not allowed to dispose of any amounts of coal to any unauthorised entity.