Preparations for the opening of the long awaited Rhino cement factory which is owned by Athi River Mining (ARM) is in final stages, the management has confirmed.
According to the management, the Tanzania operations are in full swing and the firm is still looking to fill only a few positions with the relevant skills.
Some of the positions which need to be filled are those of engineering, sales, IT, accounts, internal auditing and legal departments.
Responding to an inquiry by The Guardian by email recently, the company’s Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana, said the firm was constructing a 750,000-tonne grinding plant in Dar es Salaam which was due to be commissioned at the end of last year
When completed, the plant is expected to increase cement production and stimulate competition among players hence bring relief to consumers.
Paunrana said the firm has put up another cement plant in Tanga Region which is expected to serve consumers in the country’s northern regions.
“We are also putting up a 1.5 million-tonne integrated cement plant in Tanga Region. The 8.6bn/- factory will be commissioned in quarter two of 2012,” he said. The foundation stone was laid down by President Jakaya Kikwete in 2008,” he said.
The plant will have the capacity of producing 4,000 tonnes a day or 1.5 million tonnes a year and would start operations in two years time, he said.
The Tanga plant is anticipated to be the largest in east and central Africa.
Entry in the Tanzania market will put ARM in a position where it will easily access the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) markets of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique, economic analysts say.
Paunrana said demand for cement in the region would probably grow at twice the current rate of five to six per cent in the next few years.
“Economic growth could be much faster in Tanzania and we expect cement consumption to double in the next five to seven years,” Paunrana said.
Statistics indicate that the combined production of Tanzania’s three cement manufacturers - Tanzania Portland Cement Company, Mbeya Cement Company Limited and Tanga Cement Company – stand at 1.2 million tonnes against the domestic demand of 1.6 million tonnes a year.
Due to the shortfall, Tanzania has been forced to rely on imports to meet the demand.
At the moment a bag of cement in Dar es Salaam sells at between 14,500/- and 15,500/-, while at upcountry stalls the same sachet can be purchased at 17,000/- or above depending on transport costs.
The company has also established a foundation whose main purpose is to invest in communities in the region.
The Rhino cement foundation promotes local and community development by supporting high impact projects in education, health and environment.
ARM which was established in 1974 has subsidiaries operating in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Rwanda.