Lafarge’s cement project on track, South Africa

Lafarge’s cement project on track, South Africa
Published: 18 July 2006

Lafarge South Africa’s cement business unit’s SAR1.2bn project - to increase its cement capacity by 1Mta - is on track and scheduled for finalisation and commissioning in 2008.

Lafarge South Africa CEO Frederic de Rougemont said groundwork has started and an order for a new plant would be placed in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The project involves two major investments, including the installation of a new kiln at the company’s existing Lichtenburg Cement Works, to expand the clinker production line by 800,000 tons per year, currently in progress.

This is in conjunction with the development of a one million ton per year green-field grinding plant at Randfontein, west of Johannesburg.

"The Randfontein site was chosen after an optimisation evaluation of the logistics of sourcing other additives and extenders for cement production, balanced against the servicing of cement customers in Lafarge’s main markets," said De Rougemont.

While this major increase in capacity moves towards finality in 2008, various other short-term capex projects are being undertaken at Lafarge’s Lichtenburg Works, currently the largest and most technically advanced cement clinker production facility in the country, to increase cement capacity in line with the expected industry growth and increased demand from Lafarge customers.

A total of SAR120m has been committed to increase milling capability. Early in 2006 the milling capacity was increased by 25% and by the beginning of 2007, another 10% increase will be implemented.

A SAR16m project to increase packing capacity by 30% is also progressing well. A new palletiser and stretch-hood line has been completed and a new packer will be installed in July.

Rougemont says that the construction market continues to perform well with this year’s trend still above 10% annual growth across the whole market.

"The growth is linked to residential property related jobs, spurred on by the government’s commitment to housing infrastructure," he said.