$418 billion biofuels plant at risk in South Africa

Delays by the South African government in delivering a key position paper are threatening the development of a 5 billion rand ($418 million U.S.) plant that would convert canola into diesel fuel, the developer declared on April 10. PhytoEnergy International Holding AG said that it will proceed with the project only if the South African government makes good on its commitment to pass laws mandating the blending of biofuels into motor fuel. The government was scheduled to enact those laws by October 1, 2015, but it has yet to publish the position paper, which is seen as a key preliminary step towards enacting the laws. “The government keeps on postponing the final regulation and thereby endangers the whole biofuel industry,” Petrus Fouche, COO of a South African unit of PhytoEnergy, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “If there are ongoing delays from [the] government we will have to abandon the idea of processing canola to biodiesel,” he added. As currently planned, plant would produce 400,000 metric tons of biodiesel fuel per year.