Lime is an important and versatile chemical used in a wide range of industrial and other applications. The term lime, which strictly refers to calcium oxide (CaO), is applied to a range of products arising from the grinding, calcination and hydration of limestone and dolomite. Many less developed countries do not have adequate lime production and this leads to problems associated with under-utilisation of lime. In particular, insufficient application of agricultural lime can lead to soil acidification, with associated aluminium / manganese toxicity and poor crop yields.
As part of the UK Government's commitment to provide technical assistance to developing countries, a project was initiated to help solve this problem. The BGS/DFID project \"Local development of affordable lime in Southern Africa\" (R6492) carried out under the DFID Knowledge and Research (formerly the Technology Development and Research) programme aimed to encourage the development of low-cost lime for agriculture and water treatment. As part of the project, carbonate resources were matched with appropriate lime production technology to provide a methodology for the establishment of local production units.
The project was undertaken in collaboration with the Zambian Geological Survey Department (GSD), who carried out field sampling and laboratory evaluation of carbonates, and Intermediate Technology Zimbabwe (ITZ), who reviewed existing small-scale lime production practices in Zimbabwe. The project focused on agricultural lime production in Zambia, following the recommendations of a recent survey of the lime industry of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region (AUSTROPLAN, 1990). The project was sub-divided into three main activities:
1. Lime evaluation programme;
2. Small-scale lime production research;
Mitchell, C.J.; Inglethorpe, D.J.; Tawodzera, P.; Evans, E.J. Local development of affordable lime in southern Africa: project summary report. (WC/98/021). (1998)