South Africa’s largest cement producer PPC has awarded four major contracts for its R1.36bn Batsweledi expansion project, which has been tweaked to produce more cement with no increase to the cost tag. PPC awarded the main cement manufacturing plant contract to FL Smidth, which supplied and installed the existing Dwaalboom cement plant in 1985; the company awarded the installation contract to FFE Minerals-Vecor and it awarded the handling supply and installation contract to Bateman Africa.
Design and process tweaking has enabled South Africa’s largest cement producer to obtain 25 per cent more production capacity for the same R1.36bn investment in Batsweledi, a two-part project. The first main part of the project is made up of a R1.23bn investment in the new kiln line and related infrastructure at PPC’s existing Dwaalboom cement plant on the Limpopo-North West provincial border, and the second a R130m investment to recommission and upgrade the existing milling facility at PPC’s Jupiter works in Germiston, where clinker from the new Dwaalboom kiln line will be ground.
Batsweledi’s actual cement production will now be in excess of 1.25Mta – 25 per cent higher than the million tons announced when the board approved the Batsweledi project August last year, following 12-months of detailed feasibility study into anticipated cement-demand growth and the planned future retirement of older PPC production lines.
When the expansion was announced last year, PPC CEO Orrie Fenn gave details of an intensive study undertaken by PPC that showed that industry capacity would be insufficient from 2007, which had led the company to its decision to recommission its Jupiter kiln in Germiston. In fact, as a short-term measure, every kiln that PPC possessed had been recommissioned.
The study undertaking by PPC showed that per-capita consumption of cement in South Africa’s wealthiest province of Gauteng was powering its way to European Union levels, with the Western Cape at the time a shade off Mexico’s consumption per person per year - and that was ahead of the announcement of the government’s R372-billion capital expenditure plan on new public energy and transport infrastructure (abstracted from Engineering News).