Chile’s leading cement producer Melon, controlled by Lafarge, plans to build a new grinding plant in the southern Chilean port Puerto Montt, it was reported on April 20, 2005. The plant, which is part of Melon’s strategy to expand its production and distribution operations in the southern part of the country and to cut the company’s costs, will require an investment of $20m The new cement complex will have a capacity of 300,000 tonnes per year. The project is expected to be completed in three years.
Melon already has one cement plant in La Calera, in the central part of the country, close to Chile’s capital Santiago, which produces 1.0 million tonnes of cement per year. The expansion of the company’s output was encouraged by the high number of both public and private construction projects for 2005, which pushed up cement demand in the country. Melon is the third largest cement company in Chile, after Polpaico and Bio Bio, holding a market share of 35 pct. Melon operates the cement mines of Mina Navio, Cantera Las Casas and Mina Auco.