Namibia to sign agreement on cement plant

Namibia to sign agreement on cement plant
Published: 13 February 2006

Executives from Cheetah Cement are expected to meet with the Minster of Lands and Resettlement, Hong Jerry Ekandjo, today for an agreement to construct a factory on a farm in Otjiwarongo. The factory is to be constructed on a government resettlement farm with the name Kliffland, said Zedekias Gowaseb, a Cheetah Cement executive, and the government is expected to find other government farms to resettle the present occupants. Gowaseb said Cheetah Cement does not need the entire farm for the factory but only a portion. 
Cheetah Cement is a Brazilian joint venture company with Namibian concern, Whale Rock. To date the company has been importing between 15,000t and 18000t of cement every month from Brazil, which is manufactured by a company called CP Cemento (Mizu). The company arrived in Namibia in September last year and construction of the factory, which will become the first local cement factory with both the ISO 9001:2000 certification and EN 197-1 compliant, is expected to start next month. 
It is envisaged that the factory will produce between 500,000t and 600,000t of cement per annum. Namibia’s current market volume is estimated at 270,000tpa. Namibia’s first, cement factory was closed more than ten years ago after it failed to meet industry quality production standards. 
Cheetah Cement said it has discovered sufficient limestone deposits to manufacture cement for the next 40 years. Total costs of constructing the cement factory are estimated at N$700 million. The impact of a Namibian cement factory on the market is yet to be established. However, the entrance of Cheetah Cement in the local market did cause some friction resulting in the world’s second largest cement manufacturer, Holcim group, reducing its prices. 
This prompted an angry reaction from the Namibian government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry who accused Holcim of unfair business practices. Cheetah Cement expects to tap in the Angolan market once the cement factory is complete.