Rhino Cement, under the ownership of Athi River Cement of Kenya, is going to commission two largest plants in east and central Africa beginning next month.
The plants with the total capacity of producing 2.3 million tonnes of cement annually are in the final stages of construction and staff recruitment at Mkuranga in Coast Region and Tanga city in Tanzania.
The Mkuranga plant, with the capacity of 750,000 tonnes is coming up for commissioning next month while that of Tanga will start production next year.
Speaking to this paper recently Athi River Mining Limited public relations and communication manager Julius Nyabicha said the company is currently recruiting staff to begin production at Mkuranga.
He said the Mkuranga plant will employ 300 people, of whom 100 will be skilled and the remaining unskilled.
The Tanga plant, with the capacity of 1.5 million tonnes annually is in the final stages of construction and is due to start work next year.
Besides cement production, he said, the factory will also produce 1 million tonnes of clinker annually for own use and sale to other cement producing companies, he added. Upon completion, the Tanga plant is expected to employ more than 1,000 staff, he said.
Nyabicha said the mining company has decided to invest in Tanzania because of the country’s vast demand in cement, prevalence of a conduicive investment climate, availability of raw material and the leadership’s willingness to welcome foreign investment.
He said the company sees high power costs and its availability as some of the biggest challenges it is going to face.
To overcome them, he said, the mining firm plans to start production of its own power at Mkuranga Township.
“We are going to commission production using 6MW generators per day,” he said.
Later, he said, the company will come up with a power generating plant to harness hydroelectric power within the country, he said.
He said its plans are to produce at least 66MW for its Mkuranga (6MW) and Tanga (25MW) plants out of which the remaining would be sold to the state power utility.