Building on a legacy
With cement consumption expected to expand rapidly in the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, the local cement industry faces the challenge to meet its domestic demand. After the post-Soviet period of readjustment, Central Asia’s cement producers are building on its legacy, planning the expansion of facilities to supply home and nearby export markets. Cmpro of Russia charts the latest developments.
After the disintegration of the USSR, the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan inherited the former Soviet cement enterprises, which operated design capacity plants that fully satisfied national cement consumption. However, in the 1990s, these production units saw no upgrades and their equipment was operated virtually without maintenance. As a result, by 2000, many of the plants were dilapidated and could only operate at 20-50 per cent of their capacity. A key cause of the problem was the disruption of the Soviet regional cooperation systems when raw materials and fuel were supplied by neighbouring republics. For instance, the Tajik industry received natural gas from Uzbekistan while the Kant cement plant in Kyrgyzstan received lime from neighbouring Kazakhstan. Many cement plants were also designed to supply products to nearby republics – for instance, Kazakh cement was shipped to Siberia.