The Chilean unit of Lafarge is expected to approve the final project to invest US$41m in the construction of a new milling plant in Ventanas in central region V.
Lafarge Chile - formerly known as Cementos Melón - will build a 600,000tpa capacity plant in the area’s Puchuncaví district. The plant is due to start operations by end-2009 and will be fully financed by the company, Lafarge told securities regulator SVS in a statement submitted in the beginning of the month.
The project aims to increase the company’s production capacity to put up with the increasing demand of cement in Chile, strengthening Lafarge’s position in the long term, the company’s general manager, Xavier Blondot said.
The company has officially entered the last phase of the project’s design. The new facility will increase Lafarge’s production to 2.5Mta. This includes the production of the US$27m plant currently being built by the company in southern city Puerto Montt, with capacity of 300,000tpa.
According to Blondot, Lafarge chose Ventanas due to its proximity to Chile’s central market - which consumes about 70% of the cement used in Chile - and also because it is only 45km away from the company’s cement plant.
Lafarge Chile aims to increase sales by 3% this year from the 168bn pesos (US$323mn) reported in 2006, Blondot said earlier this year.