London – Corrie MacColl has started up a new factory at its Cameroon plantations, initially producing concentrated latex and expanding into CV and L grades, the company has announced.
The Sudcam factory, it said, will supply European and North American manufacturers of dipped items, such as gloves, condoms, balloons, as well as makers of automotive, household and industrial products.
Located near Douala port, the $16-million factory has an annual production capacity of 37.5 kilotonnes (kt) of concentrated latex and TSR CV/L grades.
Production started 15 Jan, with first-year annual capacity forecast to reach 1,600 tonnes of 100% traceable high quality centrifuge latex, the company said 27 Jan.
With the start-up, Corrie MacColl said it is “now uniquely positioned to supply the western hemisphere with speciality grades of natural latex, being the only producer of concentrated latex in Africa.”
The company’s two factories in Cameroon have a combined latex capacity of 53kt fulfilled by 31,000 hectares of rubber trees planted in the Hevecam and Sudcam estates.
Production of latex is expected to increase from 10kt in 2021 to 60kt from 2030 onwards, as trees mature and come into production.
Commenting on the challenging construction project, Jimmy Francis, CEO, Sudcam plantation, said: “Covid 19 presented numerous obstacles to overcome but the team persevered and have produced a fantastic result.”
Raw material from the Sudcam plantation feeds the factory, “offering customers 100% traceable natural rubber and latex, produced to individual customer requirements,” noted Corrie MacColl.
The field material provides a 72% latex v.s cup lump split, feeding six new German-manufactured GEA centrifuges, according to the company statement.
The implementation of Heveapro and Latexpro standards, with the 1,000 audit-point certifications, will ensure “the highest standards of quality, worker safety and environmental sustainability,” it added.
A natural rubber and latex laboratory is also to be located on-site, employing technical expertise from the group’s Ohio, US-based Momentum Technologies Laboratories.
"Bringing together a factory and an on-site laboratory provides the advantage of a full-service offering as well as a strategic centre for R&D,” commented Francis.