Bitumen shortage causing R1bn of delays in South Africa

6 December 2011

More than one billion rand (£79 million) worth of road projects in South Africa are being delayed by a bitumen shortage.

According to Engineering News, work being carried out by the South African National Roads Agency cannot be completed because of the dearth of the product available.

Bitumen is used to produce asphalt in road construction. The scarcity of it is being attributed to a series of technical complications at local refineries, but steps are being taken to tackle the problem.

South Africa's minister of transport, Sibusiso Ndebele, said that around 35 projects in Sanral - which accounted for 70 per cent of all the bitumen used in South Africa in 2010 - has become severely affected.

He added that the area has "been actively engaging with the road construction industry to directly import bitumen from overseas to overcome the local short-term supply constraints".

The country's government recently announced that it would be investing £10 billion in modernising its railway infrastructure over the next two decades.

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