New cement plant for Namibia

New cement plant for Namibia
Published: 16 August 2005

Ardea Investment, an initiative undertaken by Namibians and their Brazilian business partners Carlos Alberto Ribeira, are set to construct a modern cement plant in the village of Cleveland some 5km north-west of Otjiwarongo, Namibia, in an effort to provide cheap but quality cement for local consumption. The cement product would be marked under the brand name Cheetah Cement. Currently, Namibia imports most of its cement from South Africa.

According to the president of Ardea in Namibia, Zedekias Gowaseb, the project has now reached a point of no return with the drilling programme involving nine holes with a depth of 1000m underground being completed. So far, it has been confirmed that the limestone at the plant has a lifespan of 45 years.

"The demand for cement in the country is high and the idea is to bring cement at low prices so that people can build decent houses," said Gowaseb. The plant that would have a capacity of 600,000tpa is an investment of approximately N$360 million. The Brazilians are expected to provide the capital needed but Namibians are also busy negotiating so that they may contribute financially to ensure a 50/50 shareholding.

Once the plant is complete, it is projected that between 300 and 350 jobs would be created. Experts from Brazil would also be brought into the country to share their knowledge and skills on this particular industry. The plant is expected to come into service within 24 months.

Late last month, Ardea Investment received its first consignment of cement. The 18,000t from Ribeira’s company, namely Cemento Tupi (a Brazilian cement company with three plants in Brazil and which has been in existence over the past 53 years) was brought into the country to pilot test the Namibian markets and according to Gawaseb, the cement is selling well in the northern parts of the country.

Alongside the plant in Otjiwarongo, the company is constructing a packaging terminal at the coastal town of Walvis Bay. The intention is to continue bringing in 18,000t of cement every month while the Otjiwarongo plant is still under construction. The cement would be packaged at Walvis Bay.