Venezuela’s new state cement manufacturer, a joint venture with Iran, will start production within 18 months with an annual capacity of 1Mta aimed at the domestic market, the company’s president said on Tuesday. "In about 18 months we could be putting cement on the market," Rafael Lugo told reporters.
The executive did not specify initial levels of production, but the project is expected to be completed in three years after starting in December. Investment in the plant will be US$221m with an Iranian firm providing US$196m. The project, located in eastern Monagas State, is part of President Hugo Chavez’s drive to develop local manufacturing and will be part of state-run National Basic Industries Company that covers materials such as aluminum, steel and paper.
Lugo said the production was focused on supplying state infrastructure projects, public housing developments and providing Venezuelans with cheap cement.
Venezuela’s market is current;y led by Cemex, which produces around 4Mta and supplies the local market with about half of that amount. Cemex last year began offering cheaper cement supplies to help the government fill a housing deficit.