PPC finanlises Zim plant fesibility study

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HARARE – South Africa-based Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) says it is finalising a feasibility study on the construction of a $200 million clinker production plant in Zimbabwe.

The group, which owns local unit Portland Holdings Limited (PHL), plans to build the facility — with a 1, 2 million clinker tonnes per annum capacity — in the north eastern region.

“We expect to be on the ground building in the second half of next year,” said chief executive Ketso Gordhan while presenting the group’s financials for the year ended September 2013.

“We intend to build two grinding facilities…where we will transport 800 000 tonnes while 400 000 tonnes will be delivered to Tete,” he said, adding that the group still required a couple of regulatory approvals.

The group expects the new plant to supply the Zimbabwean market and also export to neighbouring Mozambique.

The new plant will complement PHL’s two manufacturing plants in Bulawayo and Collen Bawn, which are producing nearly one million tonnes of cement per year.

On completion, the group’s Zimbabwe cement output is expected to increase two-fold to approximately two million tonnes per annum.

Early this year, Gordan said PHL, together with PPC’s non-South African subsidiaries, would also increase its revenue contribution to the group to 40 percent from the current 21 percent by 2016.

In 2011, PPC acquired a 27 percent stake in Harbesha Cement in Ethiopia and a 51 percent stake in Cimerwa Cement in Rwanda.

The increased capacity will enable PHL to increase its exports in the region.

Gordhan added that a significant investment had already been made in exploration and drilling at two locations in Rushinga and another one in Mashonaland Central.

“We will choose the best spot with quality limestone within the area.

“Furthermore our plan is to create an ultra-modern plant design so that we realise optimal efficiency. Our plans involve a lot of things like licensing, access to reliable power generation and supply and other essential utilities,” said Gordhan.

He said the process could take up to 10 months before construction commences.

“Not only will this investment address the expected future increase in cement demand in Zimbabwe, but create employment opportunities, beneficiation of the country’s mineral reserves and a significant growth opportunity for PHL’s indigenisation partners,” said Gordhan.

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