SZCC plant upgrade
GWERU based cement manufacturer, Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC) will in July announce its expansion plan, which will see it increase output despite the low cement sales currently being experienced in the economy.
Cement sales for the company, a joint venture between the Zimbabwe and Chinese governments, dropped 15 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
This has largely been blamed on the liquidity squeeze in the economy and the influx of cheap imports in the context of the firming greenback against regional currencies.
SZCC managing director, Wang Yong told Chronicle Business that the direction and extent of the upgrade will be determined in June when a meeting of shareholders will be held.
He said: “Despite the tough operating environment we’re experiencing this year, we’ll be carrying out an expansion of the cement plant this year, which will further increase our cement plant capacity.
“We’ll issue out an official statement in July after a board meeting in June, which will give the final approval of the plant upgrade”.
Wang said funding for the upgrade would be harnessed internally in line with the company’s initial plan, which involved a three phased refurbishment and upgrade plan.
He said the refurbishment exercise was completed last year and this was the final exercise of the company’s five year plan.
Wang said if the upgrading exercise goes ahead, it will reduce the cost of cement through increased production and reduction of overheard costs.
Last year the company completed the refurbishment exercise of its plant, which involved work on the cement mill, the refurbishment of the rotary kiln as well as upgrading, renewing and automating ancillary equipment after committing $5 million.
This saw the design capacity increasing by 100 percent from 200,000 tonnes of cement per year to 400,000 tonnes of cement per annum.