Lovemore Zigara Midlands Correspondent—
GWERU-based cement manufacturer, Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC), has completed the construction of two silos at the cement plant as well as the installation of two automated cement packing machines at a cost of $2 million. SZCC, a joint venture between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and China Building Materials Corporation (CBMC), has set aside $5 million for the second phase of the refurbishment exercise.
The two silos will increase capacity of cement stock to 10,000 tonnes of the commodity while the packers will double the capacity of cement being discharged from 1,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes per day. Sino Zimbabwe managing director Wang Yong told Chronicle Business that despite the on-going refurbishment, demand for cement has been slow this year when compared to previous years.
He attributed the state of affairs to liquidity constraints in the economy, which has brought about deflation. “We’ve completed the construction of our silos as well as the packers at the plant and today (yesterday) we’re test running the automated packer machines and from here onwards we’ll have two packer sections,” said Wang.
He said the investment was expected to double the company’s discharge capacity to an equivalent of 100 truckloads a day, which is about 3,000 tonnes of cement being dispatched per day.
“Market demand for the past few years has been on a steady growth but this year there was no significant growth to talk about. “We forecast to see another decrease in growth if the liquidity constraints prevailing on the market persist,” Wang added.
Last year, SZCC completed the first phase of the $4.1 million upgrade, which included the refurbishment of the cement mill, the refurbishment of the rotary kiln as well as upgrading, renewing and automating ancillary equipment. The refurbishment resulted in the company’s kiln output increasing to 700 tonnes per day.
The cement plant started operating in 2001 and has a production capacity of 250,000 tonnes of cement per annum. Currently the company produces two types of cement namely: Masonry Cement MC 22.5X and Portland Cement (A-M(S) 32.5N). The cement is produced to international standards and certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe.