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The giant pulp manufacturer Sappi Saiccor is a major polluter in the town of Umkomaas in South Africa. Currently, there is a discussion about moving a primary school located close to the factory, in order to protect the pupils from the health risks connected to outlets from the plant. Local fishermen and divers are angry because of the waste the company dumps in the Indian Ocean. Scandinavian companies have supplied approximately one half of Saiccor's equipment, including approximately 75% of a magnesium based pulp plant, which was installed in 1993. This plant is still run without the required certificates for atmospheric emissions.
A new plant, which will make commercial products out of some of the ligno-sulphonate that Saiccor at present dumps in the sea, is being constructed in co-operation with the Norwegian company Borregaard. After a visit to Umkomaas, NorWatch is under the impression that Borregaard's project is welcomed.
Several African countries is on the list of trade partners of Kvaerner's subsidiary Techno Arms in South Africa. The partly owned company became linked to Kvaerner after the take-over of Trafalgar House in April 1996, and the signal at this time was that Kvaerner wanted to sell out the arms manufacturer and sales office in South Africa. On the list of last year's activities is a visit to Sierra Leone, where the company negotiated on a $30. mill. contract. They still keep in touch with powerful people in that country. A little less than two years after Kvaerner bought Trafalgar, NorWatch met with Ratomir Andrejevic, the executive director of Techno Arms, and he is very optimistic.
- Together with Kvaerner we have a great potential here on the African continent. The knowledge of arms is the supreme within the art of engineering, he says.