A CDE silica sand plant at work in Tunisia.

The forecast for the silica sand market in Saudi Arabia, the potential offered by the use of wash plants and unlocking the value of construction and demolition (C&D) waste were the focus of the seminars targeted at the Middle East and Africa region held by wet processing technology manufacturer CDE during a recent virtual symposium,

Across three days, CDE experts led the seminars that catered to the company’s global audience. At the lead seminar for the MEA region, CDE’s Regional Manager Ruchin Garg and Hatem Ibrahim, Managing Director at Mineral Processing Engineering & Consulting (MPEC), discussed the challenges and opportunities in Saudi Arabia regarding maximising the silica sand market potential.

“The last decade showed a fluctuation in silica sand consumptions in several industries and reached the lowest level in 2009 due to the global recession. Due to the variety of products and the new or future developments in applications, the long-term forecast of silica sand requires nonconventional methods of production,” remarked Ibrahim.

On the topic of transforming recycled products, CDE’s Eunan Kelly said: “Today’s customers have high expectations of the technology, they want recycled products that are comparable to virgin materials and that expectation helps drive that technology forward.”

The event followed a hugely successful 2020 inaugural conference, responding to a desire for industry professionals to engage in global learning and networking in the absence of international tradeshows and in-person conventions.

Garg pointed out that most of silica sand deposits were of good quality. However, for producers to add value, a beneficiation and processing plant is recommended so as to reach high purity silica sand that can be used in different applications. CDE is currently supporting many companies in MEA to realise the hidden value in their operations.

In a panel discussion between Garg, Dogan Ozel, Business Development Manager for MEA at CDE, and a customer Scott Watson, CEO of Kunooz Oman Holding, Watson detailed his experience of venturing into wet processing and the impact CDE products have had in transforming unused waste streams into valuable sand and aggregates.

“Being modular, the plant was easy to install and produced high-quality sand for in-house use in block manufacture and readymix concrete (RMC), thus reducing our dependence on dredged sand. When we moved to another quarry within the group, being modular meant that our plant made that transition also and it is still in operation 22 years after purchase,” he added.

The final session for the MEA market day of the virtual event involved an engaging panel discussion that explored the global, regional and local viewpoint of unlocking the value of C&D waste in MEA. Led by Garg, the panel consisted of Kelly, CDE Head of Business Development for Northern Europe, Nisrine El Hougeiri, Director of Environment Division at Laceco and Ahmed Taher, General Manager of Al Dhafra Recycling Industries.

The participants highlighted the challenges and successes of C&D waste recycling in MEA, as well as what the future looks like and how technology providers, consultants and contractors can help further drive and raise greater awareness of C&D waste recycling in the MEA region.