CEMENT producer Portland Holdings Limited (PHL), the first cement manufacturer to obtain an indigenisation certificate, has said that it is ready to meet the demand to be generated by the planned new capital city in Mt Hampden, Zvimba district, if concrete details were availed.
Report By NQOBILE BHEBHE SENIOR REPORTER
Late last year NewsDay disclosed that the government was planning to build a new capital city in Mt Hampden, which falls under Zvimba Rural District Council, President Robert Mugabe’s home area.
In November last year, PPC announced plans to establish a $200 million new plant in Rushinga, Mashonaland Central.
In an interview with NewsDay at the company’s centenary celebrations in Bulawayo on Wednesday, company director for business development and corporate strategy Gavin Stephens said the firm was ready for the demand.
“If the government of Zimbabwe is to go and build the project (capital city) as it has been outlined, we as a cement company are ready for it, but we are not sure of the exact, details as the plans have not been fully announced,” Stephens said.
He, however, dismissed speculation that the Rushinga project was motivated by the mooted new city.
“The target was not influenced by that (new capital), but by the confidence the company has in the country, we see growth in future years. It depends on the limestone deposits.
The market analysis shows that about 52% of our product is sold within Harare and its outlining areas, so we need to focus on that area as our next growth point,” Stephens said.
Officials said the feasibility study for the plant was at an advanced stage and significant investment had already been made in exploration drilling at two locations.
At present, PPC operates a cement manufacturing plant located 10km outside Bulawayo with a capacity to produce one million tonnes of cement a year.
The new city is designed in the mould of the wealthy Sandton area of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The capital would be home to critical government buildings such as Parliament, State House, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, the Supreme and High Courts and several government departments.
The government has remained mum on the source of funds.