India-based cement producer giant Sanghi Group, whose subsidiary Cemtech Sanghi has been granted exclusive mining rights by the Kenya government for a project in Pokot district near the Kenya-Uganda border, will produce over 1.2Mta of cement.
Initially, the company had proposed in its business plan to produce over 600,000tpa in the initial phase “and expand to over 1Mt in the subsequent phases, subject to the availability of additional limestone.”
The upward revision was made by the company’s board members a week ago after successful completion of a nine-month geological evaluation study conducted by two international firms.
Sanghi Group, which owns one of the world’s largest single stream lignite-based cement plant in India, produces over 20Mta of cement at its fully automated factory in India.
The factory uses modern technology developed and supplied by Fuller International of the US.
Industry players say the entry of Cemtech into Kenya will increase competition in the region’s cement sector, especially at this time when producers are expanding their capacities.
“Sanghi has developed world-class infrastructure facilities at its cement plant in India and has revolutionised the way cement is produced,” said Rajesh Rawal, the group’s managing director in charge of Africa investments, adding, “East Africa will benefit significantly from Sanghi’s world class technology when the group completes its Pokot cement project in the next 33 months.”
The official groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the ultra-modern cement plant in Pokot scheduled for August is now expected in September after it became apparent that President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who are expected to preside, were not available in August.
According to Mr Rawal, the group expects to directly employ more than 1700 people and over 5000 people indirectly. The group was recently recognised by the international Cement Review of 2009 for its contribution to the sector.
Currently, the group is contemplating a major investment in wind, solar and biofuel projects in Kenya in a joint venture with a major Indian company.
Only recently, Cemtech Sanghi signed a memorandum of understanding with Danke Electricals to manufacture and retrofit transformers in Kenya.
The project is expected to take off after the company’s proposal is discussed and accepted by the government in the next few months. This project is expected to create more than 200 jobs.