New cement plant begins production
REDCLIFF based cement manufacturer Livetouch Investments has commenced cement production at its 410 000 tonne a year capacity plant, a senior company executive said.
Construction of the $34 million cement plant, the fourth such facility in Zimbabwe and one of the largest, which is part of phase one of the firm’s project, started in June last year.
Managing director Dongning Wang told The Sunday Mail Business that the plant had started operations and had the second biggest production capacity of all local cement producers.
Livetouch Investments becomes the third major cement producing company in the country after forerunners PPC Zimbabwe, Lafarge Zimbabwe and Sino-Zimbabwe.
PPC, which is produced from Bulawayo and Gwanda doubled its production capacity to 1,4 million tonnes after recently commissioning a new plant in Harare, its third in Zimbabwe. Lafarge has a cement plant in Harare while Sino-Zimbabwe’s also has a plant in Gweru .
Zimbabwe currently consumes about 1,14 metric tonnes of cement per year. Producers have to secure markets in the region for the excess production.
Livetouch’s production is currently being distributed to potential customers to give the potential consumers a feel of the quality of the products.
“This is only phase 1, which is 85-90 percent complete. Major aspects during this phase were setting up the plant and related facilities to get it running.
The capacity is 410 000 metric tonnes per year. Phase 1 is officially complete, what is left are final touches on roads and offices,” Mr Dongning said.
“We are now negotiating with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for limestone deposits. Under Phase 2 we will set up another factory close to the deposits to produce clinker, a key ingredient of cement.
“Right now we are buying (the clinker) from other producers, but we hope one day we can produce (the clinker) ourselves,” Mr Dongning added.
Acting finance manager Ignatius Mbudaya said discussions were already in progress to create distributorship with large retailers for their cement products.
“It is going to be one of our key strategies in terms of establishing long-term relationships with wholesale distributors so that we can push our products through those branches for them to be known all over the country,” Mr Mbudaya said during an interview at Livetouch in Redcliff.
He said the company was confident of the quality of its cement brand — Diamond Cement, and believes it will withstand the stiff competition in the local market due to its high quality and low price.
About 200 people will be employed when the plant start running at capacity.
It is expected that the number of jobs to be created will double under phase 2.
Phase 2 of the projects is planned to be much bigger than the initial investment and should get underway in 6 to 9 months after deposits are secured.
Mr Dongning said the decision to invest in production of cement was due to the investors desire to be part of the growth story of the economy of Zimbabwe.
“We want to grow with this country as such we chose to invest in production of construction material, no matter how you want to develop, the first thing is construction, be it roads or housing,” Mr Dongning.
As part of corporate responsibility programme, Livetouch donated over 800 bags of cement to the city council for road rehabilitation and to Rutendo Primary school which needs the cement for construction of a new block.
The state of art Diamond Cement plant in Redcliffe