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Dangote cement plant to open in Zambia

Cement plants are coming up in Zambia and DR Congo, mainly due to the rise in construction activity in the countries. (Image source: AndreasLevers/Flickr)

The US$400mn Dangote cement plant in Masaiti on the Zambian Copperbelt should start operations at the end of March, stated group CEO Aliko Dangote

Floods triggered by heavy rains and a hold-up in a permit from the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) delayed the opening of the cement plant from the end of last year.

Once operational, Dangote cement plant is expected to create 1,000 jobs, with a production capacity of 1.5mn tonnes per annum.

Dangote is also building another cement plant in Zambia at Chilanga, near Lusaka. He said remarkable progress has been made on the US$420mn undertaking.

Sinoma Engineering, the contractor constructing the plant in Masaiti will also move on site to work on Chilanga. “We have made good progress on the plant and already have permission to start mining,” said Dangote. The company hopes the same contractor will build an identical plant there to the one in Masaiti.

In another development, Lafarge Zambia said the demand for cement is expected to remain high due to continued growth this year in the construction sector in Zambia and DR Congo. The company CEO Emmanuel Rigaux said the firm is positioned to fully capture this growth in key markets such as DR Congo through continuous operation and capacity expansion at its Chilanga and Ndola plants.

“The company has had positive results despite challenging markets marked by strong currency fluctuations, increased competition and many cost challenges. Our ‘building better cities’ ambition will remain at the heart of our news, innovative products and construction solutions as well as our corporate social responsibility programmes,” Rigaux said in the company’s year-end 2014 financial statement.

Lafarge recorded increased profit after tax of around US$55mn for 2014, up from about US$44mn the previous year. The rise is attributed to favourable sales volumes, new products, cost control initiatives, improved industrial performance and positive foreign exchange moves during the year.

With its strong cash position and no external debt, the company’s financial position and cash flow remain solid, declared Rigaux. The successful implementation of the Lusaka Stock Exchange free-float compliance programmes has enabled the firm to qualify as a Zambian citizen-empowered company.

Update: The US$420mn Dangote Industries cement plant in Masaiti on the Zambian Copperbelt was commissioned by President Edgar Lungu on August 4, 2015 at a ceremony also attended by Nigerian vice president, Professor Yemi Onsibajo.

Nawa Mutumweno

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