With building expected to start on Cape Town’s 2010 World Cup stadium by the end of the month, cement suppliers are confident there will be enough material to meet increased construction demands.
"Demand has gone up faster than anticipated, and there has been a scramble by companies to install extra plants," said a representative of the Cement and Concrete Institute (C&CI).
"The extent of the cement demand growth over the past four years has been phenomenal," said John Gomersall, CEO of Pretoria Portland Cement Company (PPC).
According to the 2006 Budget speech, cement sales increased from 7.9 million tons in 2000 to 10.7 million tons in 2004. This is expected to reach 17 million tons by 2010.
Cement producers invested an estimated R4.4 billion in expanded capacity last year. The chances of cement supplies running out ahead of 2010 were slim, said the C&CI. Companies were importing cement to keep up with the short and medium-term demands, while plants were being expanded.
Most companies were keeping all their kilns at full production to keep up with demand.
PPC’s Colin Jones said the company had increased imports of cement temporarily to meet demand and that PPC, which supplies cement to the Western Cape, had "ample stocks".