Rwanda’s only cement factory plans to build a new production line expected to increase output by 500 percent, a company official said on Wednesday.
The tiny central African country is experiencing a construction boom, but with only one cement factory, it has to rely heavily on imports from neighbouring Kenya and Uganda.
The Rwanda Cement Factory (CIMERWA) currently produces 100,000 tons of cement a year -- only 50 percent of demand in the small east African nation of 9 million people whose economy is expanding fast.
"CIMERWA will start construction on a new production line next year which would increase its capacity to 600,000t by the year 2010," managing director Jean Claude Barihuta told Reuters.
Barihuta gave no more details on the cost of that line.
He said high fuel and electricity costs were key constraints for the plant, which lies on the coffee-growing country’s southern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
CIMERWA is 90 percent owned by Rwanda Investment Group (RIG), while the government holds 10 percent. Rwanda’s government says it will sell its stake in state owned companies in its privatisation programme next year.
Its major raw materials are locally extracted but it imports gypsum from Kenya.
In addition to a new production line, CIMERWA will also start using peat as a source of energy to lower the cost of fuel which currently accounts for 60 percent of its total expenses, he said. (Reporting by Arthur Asiimwe; Editing by Louise Ireland and Wangui Kanina)