PPC Zimbabwe, the leading cement producers on Friday commissioned a new US$85 million state of the art plant in Msasa with an annual production capacity of 700 000 tons of cement and a combined 1.4 million tons together with the Bulawayo plant.
Speaking at the official commissioning of the company’s new cement plant in Msasa, Group Chief Executive Officer of PPC, Daryll Castle said the decision to invest in an US$ 85 million plant is a reflection of his company’s confidence in the economy of Zimbabwe adding that they remain committed to invest in the country.
“The Msasa mill is part of a bigger plan that PPC has to develop a fully integrated plant in Harare over time and as the economy and local demand grows,” said Castle.
Addressing journalists on the side-lines of the commissioning event, PPC Zimbabwe Managing Director, Kelibone Masiyane said they are grateful that the government has kept a lid on cheap imports as this could potentially create competitive problems considering the high cost of production in Zimbabwe compared to other countries in the region.
“If you look at this type of plant, we are huge consumers of electricity, in Zimbabwe, electricity cost is 0.15c per kilowatt hour while in Zambia it’s around 0.06c and in Ethiopia where we are in the process of setting a new plant, electricity is around 0.03c per kilowatt, so it’s difficult to compete in the region,” said Masiyane adding that cost of labour is quite high in Zimbabwe as compared to other countries in the region.
He added that PPC Zimbabwe appreciates government’s continued protection of the cement manufacturing industry from cheap imports, which could create problems for local companies.
Masiyane noted that supplying the rest of Zimbabwe from Bulawayo is a huge expense adding that the setting up of a cement plant in Harare will ensure bring them close to the market.
“We are looking at covering the whole of Zimbabwe, quite a lot of activities are happening in the north which covers Harare as well and we were bringing in products from Matabeleland but we felt there are good reasons for us to come and invest in Harare,” said Masiyane.
The new plant that has an installed palletiser and plastic cover rapping machine that will be used to pack cement in batches of 40 bags for easy handling will be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe in March 2017.
Kelibone MasiyaneNjombo LekulaPPC Zimbabwe