Bolivia’s leading cement producer Soboce plans to spend US$15m to quadruple the capacity of its El Puente plant in Tarija department, Los Tiempos reported. Soboce will execute the 30-month expansion effort in phases. The first phase entails the US$4m construction of a new cement mill capable of producing 250,000tpa. This phase will start immediately and take 14 months to complete. A second phase will see clinker output from the cement kilns increase to 230,000tpa at a cost of US$11m.
"This latest investment in Soboce is to consolidate our unquestionable [market] leadership in the country, and is proof of the confidence we have in its future," company president Samuel Doria Medina said. Cement demand in southern Bolivia, which includes Tarija, Potos and Chuquisaca departments, has seen a spurt of growth in recent years, to 7% in 2002 and 15% in 2003. Growth is expected to continue due to several major highway projects in the region. Soboce has 47% of the Bolivian cement market.