PPC Zimbabwe has secured about $18 million for the construction of a new cement plant in Harare. The cement company says construction of the new plant is the “main priority” at the moment.”Preliminary work at the site is underway and fully-fledged construction is scheduled for August,” PPC managing director Mr Njombo Lekula said in an interview with The Herald Business on the sidelines of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe business conference in Victoria Falls last week.
The conference was running under the theme “Attracting Foreign Direct Investment for Economic Growth”.
Road access network to the Harare plant has already been completed and a temporary office already set up at the site. Public hearings for the Environment Impact Assessment on Harare plant have been concluded providing the green light for the project to commence.
Mr Lekula said a feasibility study on the construction of a clinker plant and cement grinding mill in Mashonaland Central this year is almost complete.
“We are conducting a feasibility study for the clinker plant in Mashonaland Central but the setting of a plant in Harare is our main priority at the moment.
He said the construction of another clinker plant in Mashonaland Central will go in tandem with the limestone geological studies currently being carried out.
Cement is produced in two phases with the first being the production of clinker from limestone. The second phase involves crushing of the clinker into cement powder
PPC, the country’s largest cement company with an annual capacity of 1,2 million tonnes intends to double its capacity by building a clinker plant in Mt Darwin and cement crushing mills in Harare and Tete .
Mr Lekula said the company is also looking at investing more in new technology to meet global demands as well as increase capacity.
PPC, however, is worried by the performance of its export business.
“Currently our plants in Zimbabwe are running at about 70 percent capacity utilisation and for us to get to decent levels of capacity, we have to find other markets. We export to Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and we continuously look for opportunities in the region,” said Mr Lekula.
PPC’s export business contributes about 20 percent to the company’s total turnover but the figure fluctuates.
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