CDE’s plant in operation at Somevam’s quarry.

Somevam, a subsidiary of the Tunisian Sebri Group, has announced plans for a significant investment in the development of its second wet processing solution from Northern Ireland-headquartered CDE for the production of high-specification silica sand products.

Sebri Group, an independent, family-owned and operated group with interests in agriculture, food processing and quarrying, will work with its wet processing partner, CDE, to design and engineer the new plant which will be located at Somevam’s quarry in Oueslatia, Tunisia. The group has operated sand quarries in Oueslatia to serve the national construction market for the past two decades. Here, Somevam has been producing a range of sand and aggregate materials for the construction sector.

Its management team identified an opportunity to further diversify the business by expanding into the glass sands market to strengthen its commercial proposition in the region, and in 2019 commissioned its first CDE solution at the site.

The state-of-the-art silica sand wash plant has a capacity to treat up to 200 tonnes per hour (tph) of sand, producing 100 tph of silica glass sand for the glass industry, as well as a range of secondary products including fine silica sand for silica flour production, foundry sand, concrete sand and road base.

Investment in a second silica sand wash plant comes as Somevam records significant interest in its future production output, according to CDE. The plant will produce silica sand, which has applications in paints, coatings and inks, adhesives and sealants, pharmaceuticals, lighting and more as well as silica for flat glass applications such as windows, mirrors and flat glazing.

The glass industry accounts for more than a third of the total market for silica sand based on end-use, and market analysis projects a growth rate of 7.12 per cent in the silica market over the forecast period 2019–2026, reaching $3 billion by 2026, according to a report by Bizwit Research & Consulting.

Commenting on the announcement, CDE’s Senior Project Manager Bassem Idriss said: “We’re very pleased to once again partner with Sebri Group on this exciting project that will significantly expand Somevam’s silica sand processing and production capacity. Its previous investment in CDE technology exemplifies our commitment to engineering excellence and is one of the most advanced plants of its kind.

“Sebri Group recognises that superior product to meet the demands of the market requires an equally superior processing solution and, as such, this investment will complement the existing CDE solution in Oueslatia to further strengthen its position and capitalise on growth opportunities in the glass sands market.”

Ruchin Garg, CDE Regional Manager, MEA (Middle East and Africa), added: “At CDE, every customer is a customer for life. Somevam’s existing silica sand plant, which was commissioned in 2019, receives expert proactive and preventative maintenance and support. It’s this commitment to our customers – one that ensures their CDE solution is running at optimum efficiency to maximise product throughput, yield and profitability while minimising their environmental footprint – that has formed the foundation from which we can continue to build upon our positive relationship with Sebri Group.”

Habib Sebri, Owner and Chairman of Sebri Group, said: “Following a hugely successful venture into the glass sand industry with our first CDE plant, we sought an additional plant to meet the growing demand for our products. We are excited to partner with CDE once again on this new project to maintain the quality and consistency of our offering, and we thank all of those partners who helped secure funding and provided their expertise and resources to help make this ambitious project a reality.”

With authorisation from the Central Bank of Tunisia, funding for this investment was secured with the support of UK Export Finance, AF Capital, Apple Bank, and assisted by British Embassy Tunis.