Increased investment in Congo and Zambia’s copper belts by mining companies has led to increased demand for cement, creating a shortage which could hurt the progress of most projects, Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce and Trade said in a recent report.
Surveys carried out by the ministry have established that Zambia’s Copper Belt Province is the most affected by this shortage, the report said. The shortage there has been exacerbated by increased cement demand in neighboring Katanga province in Congo where huge construction works in the mining sector are also underway.
The report said increased cement demand has led to an increase in the local price to an average of 75,000 kwacha ($18.88) for a 50kg bag of cement in August compared with around ZMK45,000 in July. When the commodity is exported to Congo, its local price is almost doubles.
The report added that government has started to implement short-term measures to control the shortage by curbing smuggling of cement to Congo, some of the long-term measures include encouraging an increase in local production.
However, Clive Newal, the president of Canada-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM.T), said his company’s projects haven’t affected by the shortage and are all on schedule. First Quantum is developing the 80,000-metric-ton-a-year Frontier copper mine in Congo.