Addax Bioenergy last week said it has started a redundancy process for employees currently on garden leave at its sugarcane bioethanol and renewable electricity project in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

The development is due to the expiration of the third and final extension of a deal regarding garden leave employment at the site. Local media said hundreds of workers would be affected.

The site started production in May 2014 and exported its first certified bioethanol to Europe during the 2015 season. It has been designed to produce bioethanol from sugarcane for export and for domestic use, as well as electricity from biomass to power the ethanol refinery and supply some 20% of the needs of the Sierra Leone national grid. In June 2015, however, the company decided to downscale the business because of “unforeseeable events,” including the Ebola outbreak in 2014, which had caused substantial delays, with most contractors leaving the site.

Addax Bioenergy said it continued to work with Sierra Leone’s president and his government, and remained hopeful that a solution might still be found in the coming days to ensure the future of the project.


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