New Era (Windhoek)

22 July 2010

Namibia: Henties Gets Multi-Million Dollar Tannery

Henties Bay — A state-of-the-art tannery is set to inject extra income into the town of Henties Bay, which, although a semi-retirement town, does accommodate a number of non-retired residents in need of work. This would mean more than N$2 million (US$200000) direct investments for Henties Bay town.

"The estimated amount does not include the cost of putting up the 1000-square-metre building infrastructure," Hatem Yavuz, the Managing Director of the Turkish company, Hatem Yavuz Group of Companies, said when announcing the plan in Henties Bay on Tuesday.

The tannery would bring value-addition to the processing of sealskins, which, at this point, are exported from Namibia, as raw skins aboard salt and preservative containers to Turkey. Yavuz was in the country to oversee plans for the setting up of the tannery, as well as looking at opportunities of having high-end leather fashions in the Namibian market.

Besides processing leather, the Hatem Yavuz Group also owns some of the top-end fashion designer labels in the world. If all goes according to plan, the tannery would be in place when next year's seal culling season starts in July.

"We are estimating about 100 new jobs for Henties Bay residents," Yavuz said.

"Doing some value-adding in Namibia would help us alleviate pressure off the factory in Turkey," he said.

The tannery would do the first phases of the value- adding process required to turn skins into ready-to-sew high fashion material. But this is certainly set to bring rare tannery skills that, says Yavuz, have cost the Hatem Yavuz Group millions of dollars in research and development.

Hatem Yavuz Group also says it would bring in a number of experts to train Namibians in the art of leather and fur tanning for a period of about six months. The tannery would have state-of-the-art machinery from Turkey.

Unlike with the ordinary fur and leather garments that are heavy to wear, especially the seal fur skin that is ordinarily thick, Hatem Yavuz Group produces lighter fur and leather garments.

"This we managed by investing in research and development. Today, we produce some of the most sought-after garments in the world," he said.

The first phase of putting up the tannery has already commenced with water ponds in place. Ponds would help contain the possibility of contaminating underground water on which the town of Henties Bay relies for fresh water.

The tannery would use vast quantities of water to wash skins and treat the seal fat into Omega oil. Instead of water draining into the ground, the tannery would use evaporation with the water ponds.

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