Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote has said the company’s $400 million cement plant in Zambia’s Masaiti district in Copperbelt region will start operating in two weeks’ time, the result of a delay in securing the necessary approval.
“There was a delay in getting a permit from Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA), which actually made us start production late, but I think we are overcoming that, hopefully we can start in two to three weeks or so,” said Dangote after touring the Zambia plant on Thursday.
“The rainy season this year has been intense but it has given us a lesson to protect ourselves next time we are in operation,” said Dangote.
The plant is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, with a production capacity of 1.5 million tons annually.
Dangote Cement plans to have capacity of more than 60 million tons across the African continent by 2016.
The firm is Africa’s leading cement producer with three plants in Nigeria and plans to expand in 13 other African countries, including Ethiopia, Senegal, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia.
“We are making progress across our other African projects and continue working to become Africa’s leading cement company,” former CEO, Devakumar Edwin said in a November statement, after the firm released 9 months results.
Sub–Saharan Africa cement consumption rose by 6.8 percent in 2014, compared with 5.2 percent in India, 3.5 percent in China, 6.4 percent in North America, and 3.7 percent in South Asia, according to data from global cement report, Morgan Stanley and DaMina Advisors.
Dangote Cement grew its consolidated group revenue by 7.3 percent to
N310.2 billion ($1.5bn), with pre-tax profits for the 9M 2014 period up by 1.5 percent to N154.1 billion ($770m).