KWEKWE-based cement manufacturer Livetouch Investments is building a second cement plant in Zvishavane, Midlands to the tune of US$20m under the first phase of the project.
The first phase of the cement plant will produce 200 000 tonnes per year upon completion between June and July next year.
Livetouch Investments, whose first cement factory is situated in Redcliff also in the Midlands province, is presently producing 200 000 tonnes per year against an installed capacity of 340 000 tonnes.
In an interview, the company’s managing director, Mr Kyle Wang, said the cement factory is expected to create 330 new jobs directly upon completion.
“In terms of the resource, our company has located our own limestone resource already and we are constructing our second cement plant near our limestone resource in Zvishavane at a cost of between US$15 million and US$20 million under the first phase,” he said.
“Hopefully, by next year we will complete it and we are expanding our operations with our target being the Zimbabwe market because we all know this country currently imports between 20 000 and 30 000 tonnes of cement on a monthly basis and that’s a lot of foreign currency expense.”
Players in the cement industry have in the past expressed frustration at the influx of cheap imported cement in the market that they argue threatens the viability of their operations locally.
Industry and Commerce Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, is on record saying Zimbabwe would increase monitoring and surveillance on cement imports from the region to protect local firms and shield customers from suboptimal shipments.
Zimbabwe has the capacity to produce 2,6 metric tonnes of cement per year against a national demand of about 1,6 metric tonnes annually. In terms of production, Mr Wang said Zimbabwe has a shortage while the supply side was flooded with imports from neighbouring countries such as Zambia.
“Right now, there is a shortage in production including us and other local cement producers, we can’t produce enough cement for the market and the challenge lies in production levels.
“For us (Livetouch), we have already managed to locate and explore the correct resource in the country and we hope we can make up for the shortage in the country’s demand and supply.
“Other companies I don’t know, but for us, it used to be the resource and now we are quite confident that we can make up the shortage if we finish construction of the Zvishavane plant,” he said.