Southern African Countries Stepping Up Cement Production

Southern African Countries Stepping Up Cement Production

South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe are forecast to see investments worth $940-million in cement production over the next 15 years with the potential for exports to neighboring countries where demand is high but supply low, according to a report in SouthernAfrica.info.

The three countries  produced 14.9-million tonnes of cement in 2012. New cement manufacturing plants coming on line are expected to boost production there to 18.1-million tonnes by 2018, the report said.

South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the subject of a Frost and Sullivan study, released Wednesday, entitled “Southern African Cement Industry Production and Investment Forecasts.”

“Higher government spending on public infrastructure, such as the construction of new energy and power facilities, as well as the expansion of transportation infrastructure, will boost the need for cement in Southern Africa,” Frost and Sullivan research analyst Yeukayi Kadzere said in a statement.

Cement production will be instrumental to government expenditure plans, the study said, especially the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan which the Southern African Development Community aims to roll out over the next 15 years.

While soaring electricity and fuel prices are driving up production costs, Kadzere said manufacturers in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe could potentially offset this by exporting cement to neighboring countries with enormous demand but little supply.

Internally, the South African government is planning to spend more than 4-trillion rand on a massive state-led infrastructure drive over the coming years focusing on rail, road, energy and water.

Sephaku Cement, an associate company of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Sephaku Holdings and a 64-percent-owned subsidiary of Nigeria’s Dangote Cement, is nearing completion of a 1.2-million-ton-per-year cement plant in South Africa’s Northwest province.

The Nigerian-backed Sephaku Cement will be the first new entrant to the South African cement production market to open its own new plant since 1934, and will be looking to challenge big local producers PPC, AfriSam, NPC and French multinational Lafarge as the country’s infrastructure-building program starts to take off.

In February, PPC announced that its Zimbabwean subsidiary, Portland Holdings Ltd. would be building a new cement plant in Zimbabwe to service markets there and in Mozambique.