By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
A new cement plant in Rwanda is expected to come online next month. Rwandan company Prime Cement expects prices to drop as production ramps up.
The cement sector in Africa is expected to expand over the next few years as more people in Africa move to its biggest cities and demand for housing increases. Africa is already home to several established brand names like PPC, Afrisam, Sepaku and, of course, Dangote Cement. Although there has been a gradual increase in competition from Chinese, Indian and Pakistani cement manufacturers, it is exciting to see more African companies entering the market.
A new cement plant in the Northern Province of Rwanda is nearing completion. Prime Cement, a subsidiary of the Milbridge Group, is expected to start producing cement from its grinding plant at an initial 0.6 million tonne per year (Mt/yr) in August 2020. According to a report by KT Press News the USD66.6-million plant will create 600 jobs. Eric Rutabana, plant manager at Prime Cement says that he hopes the company’s entry into the market will result in a drop in cement prices in the region. “At current prices, cement is beyond the purchasing power on the local market,” says Rutabana. He says that Prime Cement will be selling its product at about RWF9000 (about USD9) per bag compared to the current price of around RWF12 000 (about USD12).
Rwanda is one of the most stable and fastest developing countries in Africa and is regarded as a growth vehicle for the entire East African region. The infrastructure and road networks are good and although the country is landlocked it has easy access to ports and harbours in neighbouring countries. According to Rutabana, most of the equipment and machinery at the plant are already in place and the rest is being transported from the Port of Mombasa in Kenya. The cost of construction of the plant is estimated at about RWF63.6-billion.
Denmark’s FLSmidth signed a deal with Prime Cement in 2017 to supply equipment for the plant. Construction of the unit got underway in the third quarter of 2018 and although Covid-19 slowed the progress to some extent, most work has now been completed. A proposed second phase to the project will add an integrated clinker plant within the next five years.
FlSmidth order at the time included a OK(TM) 27-4 vertical mill for cement grinding, filters, a control system and plant automation, a packing plant and weighing and metering systems. FLSmidth also supplied equipment from other FLSmidth brands, such as a planetary mill gear unit from FLSmidth MAAG Gear, filters from FLSmidth Airtech, a control system and plant automation from FLSmidth Automation, a packing plant from FLSmidth Ventomatic and weighing and metering systems from FLSmidth Pfister.