The African business unit of glass packaging provider Ardagh Glass Packaging (AGP – Africa) has commissioned a R1.5bn ($95m) extension to its production facility in Nigel in Gauteng, South Africa.

This extension will more than double the plant’s production capacity to meet both customers’ current demands and estimated demand growth.

The investment will add a furnace and production lines to the facility, as well as improve its energy and water efficiency.

Through this, AGP–Africa aims to expedite its efforts to decarbonise the glass production process and reduce carbon emissions in the communities in which it operates.

AGP–Africa CEO Paul Curnow said: “We are proud to commission this significant capacity investment, which supports strong demand from our customers for sustainable, premium glass packaging.

“Completion of this project, on time and budget despite the Covid-19 and supply chain challenges of the past two years, represents a tremendous achievement by our technical and operational teams.

“The outlook for premium, sustainable glass packaging remains positive and AGP – Africa expects to continue to invest in support of future market growth.”

In addition to increasing AGP–Africa’s production capacity, the investment will aid in the government’s economic recovery plans and generate job opportunities in Ekurhuleni.

It has so far created more than 150 direct jobs besides substantial ancillary supply chain expenditure.

Ardagh Group chairman and CEO Paul Coulson said: “Demand for sustainable packaging in Africa is growing strongly, supported by multiple factors, including rising income levels, growing sustainability awareness, favourable demographics and a shift to one-way packaging.

“We are committed to investing in our people and our asset base to enable us to serve this strong demand growth over the near term.”

In March this year, Ardagh Group selected Minas Gerais as the location for its first glass production facility in Brazil.