PPC invests in Colleen Bawn plant. South Africa

PPC invests in Colleen Bawn plant. South Africa
Published: 12 July 2010

PPC has invested US$19.5m at its Colleen Bawn kiln plant in a move expected to boost production by 20%.

PPC finance director Gavin Stephens on Tuesday told business digest that cement production would soon increase to 2200tpd from 1800tpd in March at its Bulawayo factory.

The company secured credit from its South Africa-based parent company before embarking on a four-month recapitalisation exercise. This comes on the back of prevailing shortages of cement and subsequent price hikes on the market. Cement prices have in the past few weeks almost doubled from US$9 per bag on the informal market as supplies become erratic at most hardware shops across the country.

During the exercise, the company shut down its kiln plant at Colleen Bawn to facilitate replacement of obsolete machinery. The plant has a capacity to produce 1Mta of cement.

"PPC Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo cement factory has not stopped production during this period. It faces considerable milling and loading difficulties due to heavy load shedding, and since July 1 it had exhausted clinker stocks for the milling of cement product. This has resulted in a temporary local shortage, which is being addressed through the importation of clinker and cement from our South Africa parent company, PPC Ltd," Stephens said.

He added that the exercise would reduce the firm’s energy requirements by 15%. The company, according to Stephens, expects production to be on an upward trend should energy supplies remain uninterrupted. Zimbabwe is generating 1100 MW of electricity a day against peak demand of 2200.