PPC commissions $85 million plant
CEMENT manufacturer PPC Zimbabwe on Friday commissioned its $85 million plant in Msasa, Harare, doubling its annual production capacity to 1,4 million tonnes. The giant firm has two other plants in Bulawayo and Colleen Bawn near Gwanda with combined annual capacity of 700 000 tonnes.
The company expects the new 700 000 tonne per annum plant to provide greater scope to export into regional markets including Zambia and Mozambique.
PPC chief executive officer Mr Darryl Castle said the investment was a show of confidence in Zimbabwe’s economy, despite several challenges currently being faced.
“The Msasa mill is part of a bigger plan to develop a fully integrated plant in Harare in time, as the economy and local demand grows,” he said.
Mr Castle said continued Government support of the local cement manufacturing industry would help it grow further.
“We thank the Zimbabwe Government for protecting the cement market from imports being dumped in the Zimbabwean market. Cheap imports have the potential to cause significant injury to the local cement manufacturing industry, including job losses, underutilisation of production capacity and reduced return on assets employed.”
PPC managing director, Mr Kelibone Masiyane said the new investment was strategic.
“The market might be depressed at the moment but this investment is strategic. We understand that currently the economy is in turmoil but we have a long range view for Zimbabwe, we have confidence that it will take a turn,” he said.
PPC also has operations in South Africa, Botswana and Rwanda. Other companies in the cement manufacturing industry in Zimbabwe are Lafarge and Sino-Zim.
Last year, Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote announced plans to set up a $400 million cement manufacturing plant in Zimbabwe with capacity to produce 1,5 million tonnes per year. With small beginnings in 1913 as Zimbabwe’s first cement company, east of Bulawayo, PPC Zimbabwe started under the name of Premier Portland Cement (Pvt) Ltd. It packed in jute bags and its products initially went on sale to the public in September 1914 with exports to then Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and the Belgian Congo beginning in 1916.The factory at Colleen Bawn was established in 1946. — New Ziana/Business Reporter