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Lafarge on growth path


Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe plans to invest at least $5 million every year for the next four years as it forges ahead with its expansion programme to improve efficiency at the plant, an official said Wednesday.

The company has set a target of producing 400 000 tonnes of cement by end of year.

Speaking to the media after the tour of the plant in Harare, the company’s performance and improvements manager Edson Chakanyuka said demand from the local industry was high due to the revival of the construction sector.

“We want to invest $5 million a year into the operation so as to improve efficiency and capacity. We also seek to modernise our equipment, replacing the old equipment with more efficient machinery,” said Chakanyuka.

He said most of the company’s cement was being bought by individuals who were constructing properties and retailers for resale.

“The local demand for cement is such that we are not able to export any. We believe the target we have set for ourselves is quite attainable. The challenge comes when we have to wait for spare parts which at times take up to three months,” he said.

Chakanyuka said the company, just like any other, was being affected by load-shedding.

He said Lafarge was looking at ways of minimising dust emanating from operations adding the company was pursuing an ISO 14000 certification.

In May this year, Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe shut down its plant in Harare to carry out plant capacity revamping that has resulted in increased output.

During the shutdown, renovations at the plant included kiln refractory replacement, revamping of the clinker cooler, revamping of the ball mill, refurbishment of dust suppression equipment and replacement of obsolete 3,3KV medium voltage breakers.

Lafarge South Africa owns and controls 76% of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed local operation, which manufactures and supplies a wide range of building materials to the local market including cement, agricultural lime and gypsum products.

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