Packaging manufacturer Nampak has opened its third energy-efficient glass furnace in Gauteng, South Africa, with an investment of around ZAR1.2bn ($106.9m).

The new furnace is expected to increase the plant’s annual capacity to 295,000t, creating around 140 direct jobs.

Nampak will supply a mix of glass bottles and jars to customers under long-term contracts.

Nampak CEO André de Ruyter said: "Of the ZAR1.2bn invested in the third furnace, 50% was spent on developing the building in South Africa and the balance was used to buy the furnace equipment in Europe."

The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) section 12I tax allowance incentive on brownfields investment helped sponsor the third furnace project.

"Nampak will supply a mix of glass bottles and jars to customers under long-term contracts."

Earlier in 2010, Nampak opened a ZAR160m ($14.26m) cullet processing plant, which processes around 80,000t of cullet a year, procured from 4,000 SMMEs.

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The company claims that the new furnace is one of the most environmentally friendly, technologically advanced machines in the world, which helps in reducing emissions and waste of water and energy.

Some of the features of the new plant include cullet batch preheating from waste gases, a closed-loop water purification system and an ESP filter that reduces emissions. One of South Africa’s largest rotary uninterrupted power supply (RUPS) systems has also been installed on the site, which will remove risks of power outages and surges.

André de Ruyter added: "In the past year alone, Nampak has spent approximately ZAR2.5bn on a number of capital projects, the majority of which were in South Africa.

"More will be spent in the future, mainly on refurbishing and upgrading existing operations, in order for us to remain competitive in the face of increasing competition and cost-pressure."

Nampak has also recently acquired a beverage can-making business in Nigeria for $300m and is increasing its beverage can-making capacity in Angola from 800 million to 1.8 billion cans by 2015.