Cement Products to commission new clinker plant
…Malawi to save millions of dollars through import substitution
By Chiku Jere
Malawi’s cement industry is poised for a major transformation following completion of the construction of a state-of –the-art integrated clinker manufacturing plant by a local firm Cement Products Limited (CPL) at Njereza in Mangochi.
This was the observation made when officials from Malawi Chamber of Mines and Energy visited the new imposing plant which its President Dean Lungu described as ‘an impressive piece of massive investment’.
Lungu hailed the company’s Managing Director, Aslam Gaffar, for investing in what he termed a ‘game-changer’ in the cement manufacturing industry.
This impressive investment will completely transform the local cement industry as other cement manufacturers will be able to buy clinker right here within Malawi other than importing the commodity, which is a drain to the country’s foreign exchange reserves,
Gaffar described the new clinker plant as a ‘pivot investment’ from where many businesses will sprout out.
We are happy that God has made this happen and we believe Almighty Allah will continue guiding us so that we achieve the intended goal of this project, which is to ease the way of doing business in the cement industry as well as contribute to the economy of this country in any way possible,
Gaffar said by supplying locally produced clinker to cement manufacturers, the plant will help in reducing the cost of production in the cement industry in so doing making cement affordable to more Malawians.
As a country, we need to work towards making cement affordable because it drives development. With this plant, I envisage reduction in retail price per bag of cement, which will enable many people, even of low income, to afford a bag of cement for construction of durable houses and other infrastructures,
He also said the new clinker factory will help conserve the environment as it is dust and smoke emission free, and will also help to reduce wanton cutting down of trees in the area for burning bricks because cement which is a raw material for concrete brick manufacturing will be abundantly available.
If cement bricks are made readily available and accessible to property developers in this area and beyond, it will result in reduced demand for burnt bricks, conserving the environment in the process,
The CPL clinker factory is the second clinker plant being developed in the country as Shayona Cement Corporation’s is also constructing a state of the art rotary kiln plant in Kasungu.
Currently, Malawi spends over US$10million on 300,000 metric tonnes of clinker it imports from countries such as Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Experts also say local production of clinker will help scale up extraction of other minerals associated with the cement industry such as limestone, gypsum and coal in so doing creating more employment opportunities for Malawians.
CPL has a work force of about 280 but the number is expected to rise to 500 with the opening of the clinker plant, which has been built using locally sourced labour.
Gaffar explained that CPL has a policy to provide employment and impart technological skills to as many Malawians as possible and to achieve this it hires expatriates to train locals.
For instance, he said, the company has hired 20 Chinese experts on a two year contract who will be working with 80 Malawians to train them on the modern cement manufacturing technologies so that at the end they are able take over operations of the plant which stands at 70meters tall, 300mx200m radius and has a production capacity of 1000 metric tonnes per day.
This piece was initially published in Malawi’s Mining & Trade Review Issue Number 53 (September 2017).