Cement firms clash over limestone site

Cement firms clash over limestone site
Published: 21 August 2007

An announcement that Lafarge East Africa plans to build a major factory in Kitui has brought to the open a simmering dispute between two of Kenya’s three cement manufacturers. 
 
Bamburi Cement chairman, Mr Richard Kemoli, on Thursday revealed plans to extract limestone and other minerals from a site in Mutomo district, formerly Kitui South. 
 
However, The Standard has since learned Bamburi Cement and Athi River Mining (ARM) have been involved in a dispute over the site. Bamburi officials claim ARM, in which it is a shareholder, is mining limestone illegally in the area and are seeking Government help to stop them. 
 
Bamburi’s plans follow the discovery of limestone, a major constituent of cement, in Kanziko and Mathima locations. Other minerals found in the two areas include clinker, pozzolana and gypsum. 
 
The company approached the Kitui County Council about mining in the area, while ARM has dealt directly with individual farmers. 
 
The Lafarge East Africa business unit, headed by Managing Director, Mr Michael Puchercos, comprises of Bamburi Cement (Kenya and Uganda) and Mbeya Cement (Tanzania).