August 1, 2019: Belarusian lead acid battery plant IPower, which has been the subject of public protests for over a year, has hit back at claims that its proposed new plant is polluting and hazardous, telling BESB on July 31 that it meets all environmental standards.
The factory, near the town of Brest, is owned by the 1AK Group and has been the subject of media reports of protests for more than a year, claiming it is hazardous and will pollute the surrounding environment. It has still not opened because of the protests.
But the company says it has the most modern equipment, from global companies such as Sovema, Sanhuan, Ecofilter and Frimax, and that the authorities in Belarus regularly monitor it to ensure they comply with standards.
It also plans to become a member of EUROBAT, the company told BESB.
“The standard of dispersion of lead in the sanitary protection zone of the plant allows it to discard into the air up to 124kg of lead per year. The project provides a little over 3kg. Thus the plant is absolutely safe for the population and the environment,” the company said.
“IPower is equipped with modern technology and air cleaning equipment which meets the modern standards of environmental safety. The authorities are carrying out actions aimed at monitoring compliance with the established maximum permissible concentrations for emissions, as well as compliance with other requirements established for the enterprise.”
The company also said it was open to queries from outside parties and had set up an independent monitoring group, which had already begun visits.
The plant, which has been built but cannot begin operating until it has received all the necessary permissions ‘in accordance with the terms established by the legislation of the Republic of Belarus’, will ultimately produce two million automotive batteries a year, a full range of maintenance-free lead batteries for cars, trucks, buses and tractors.
Around 70% would be exported to Ukraine, Georgia, the EU, Asia and Africa, it said.
1AK Group says it is a vertically integrated group of companies, the main activities of which are production, recycling and distribution of batteries. It says it owns a lead smelter, two other lead battery plants and a distribution company, all in Belarus.
The company also denied media claims that a Chinese company had bought the plant. It said that there had been loan agreements set up between the State Development Bank of China and the Bank of Development of Belarus, opening a credit line to finance projects in transport, energy, industry, infrastructure, small and medium businesses, but that no Chinese company had any shares in its business.
Part of the funding for the battery plant will come from Belarusian banks as well as its own sources, the company said.