Ghana sees first biomass supply chain project

By Lisa Gibson | September 02, 2011

Africa Renewables Ltd., headquartered in London, is actively recruiting for more than 70 new forestry and biomass production jobs in Ghana to support the country's first wood chip supply chain venture.

The project will harvest redundant rubber trees from the Ghana Rubber Estates Ltd. plantation for chipping and sale to European utilities and energy traders, according to Jamie Wynn-Williams, spokesperson for Africa Renewables. “The ‘redundant rubber trees’ are trees that are past their prime and are no longer producing rubber sap,” he said. “Biomass extraction is an efficient way of recycling them. The project is fully sustainable as all trees are replaced by GREL.”

The project, located between the GREL plantation and the port of Takoradi, will also include the development of a 5 hectare (12 acres) storage depot to house wood chips between monthly shipments, a spare part store and a mechanical workshop. The storage facility can house up to 110,000 meters cubed and shipments are expected to begin in November.

Africa Renewables will provide the appropriate training required for the operation of forestry equipment, with new jobs at every level of the project logistics chain from initial felling of trees to harvesting, processing and eventual delivery of biomass to cargo ships for export. The port will benefit, as well, in the new flow of exports, creating more maritime traffic and port handling activity with yet another opportunity for local employment.

“We believe our project will generate many jobs at all levels for the local community in Takoradi,” said Jean-Francois Guillon, Africa Renewables chief executive. “Of the 72 jobs that are on our budget, three will require specific biomass expertise. The rest of our employees will be hired from the local area, including the position of chief finance director.”