A US$200 million new cement plant is to be built by Pretoria Portland Cement, (PPC) a Zimbabwe subsidiary of Portland Holdings Limited (PHL), to service the Harare and central Mozambique markets.
The new plant will have a capacity of about one million tons of cement per annum and will coincide with the construction of a separate grinding facility in the neighbouring territory of Tete In Mozambique.
The plans could significantly boost output and market share for PPC Zimbabwe which currently dominates the domestic cement market with Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe. Together they command a 90 percent share of the local market.
The announcement of the expansion was made during the PHL’s centenary celebrations held in Harare. PHL was first registered as a company in 1913 and similar to its parent company in South Africa has for 100 years been an integral part of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure development.
Its core cement brand Unicem can be found in virtually every key structure in the region from the Harare International Airport to the mighty walls of the Kariba Dam.
Ketso Gordhan, Chief Executive Officer of PPC said: “In recent years our investment in Zimbabwe has shown strong growth on the back of a more buoyant and stable economy.
“This together with the fact that PPC has received an indigenisation certificate makes us optimistic about the future of the economy and the country as a whole.
“The construction of additional cement capacity will ensure that PPC continues to be a key player in the development of infrastructure in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries.
“It is totally in line with our stated strategy of growing our non-South African revenue from the current 21 per cent, to at least 40 per cent by 2016.”
The preliminary study for a new plant in the Mashonaland province is at an advanced stage and a significant investment has already been made in exploration drilling at various locations.
PPC has dedicated resources in Zimbabwe and this together with support from PPC’s head office will now commence with a full scale feasibility study including the selection of an equipment supplier.
Zak Limbada, Managing Director of PHL, said: “Not only will this investment address the expected future increase in cement demand in Zimbabwe, but create employment opportunities, benefication of the country’s mineral reserves and a significant growth opportunity for our indigenisation partners.”