cement grinding mill manufacturer in south africa

the cement industries of southern africa

The mini cement plant operated by Matsiloje Portland Cement is the only integrated producer of cement in Botswana.Figure 1: GDP/capita for Botswana, 2000 - 2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators.Lesotho is dominated by mountainous terrain.Figure 2: GDP/capita for Lesotho, 2000 - 2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators.Figure 3: GDP/capita (blue) and cement production (green) for Mozambique, 2000 - 2012/2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators, United States Geological Survey.Consolidated General Minerals is constructing a cement grinding plant in Beira, Mozambique. This photograph shows the mill, with cyclones and separators, in August 2014.Figure 5: GDP/capita (blue) and cement production (green) for Namibia, 2000 - 2012/2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators, Ohorongo Cement.Ohorongo Cement celebrated the production of its first 1Mt of cement in April 2013.Figure 6: GDP/capita (blue) and cement production (green) for South Africa, 2000 - 2012/2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators, United States Geological Survey.Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town at the bottom tip of Africa.Figure 7: GDP/capita for Swaziland, 2000 - 2012/2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators.Figure 8: GDP/capita (blue) and cement production (green) for Zimbabwe, 2000 - 2012/2013. Source: World Bank Data Indicators, United States Geological Survey.PPC is a major player in the Zimbabwean cement market and will become an even more dominant force when work on PPC Zimbabwe's new Harare plant is completed.

The most southerly countries of Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, are of varying sizes and levels of economic development. This is reflected in their cement industries, which collectively share a production capacity of 23.3Mt/yr, according to research conducted for the forthcoming Global Cement Directory 2015. Here we look at the producers and suppliers to each market, as well as recent developments and future scenarios.

Below - Figure 4: Map of Southern Africa showing location of integrated and grinding cement plants, both active and planned. Countries are colour-coded by active integrated capacity and cement grinding capacity.

Since Botswana became independent from the UK in 1966, the country has been one of the most politically stable in Africa. This has translated into steady economic growth and the sixth highest GDP/capita on the continent. So far in the 21st Century, the country has seen its GDP/capita more than double (Figure 1).

The land-locked country is strongly reliant on mineral extraction, specifically diamonds, but other sectors, including finance, services and tourism, are on the rise. However, the nation's continued strong growth is threatened by a levelling off of diamond demand and its high HIV/AIDS infection rate, which is the second-highest in the world. Unemployment is also close to 20%, showing that gains have not been even across the country's two million inhabitants.

There are two cement plants in Botswana; one integrated plant and one grinding plant. The integrated plant is operated under the trading name Matsiloje Portland Cement by Nortex Management Services (Pty) Ltd, based in Botswana. The plant's capacity is just 36,000t/yr of 32.5N grade cement, which is supplied exclusively to the local market.

The plant was originally commissioned and operated by a different company between 2000 and mid 2001 before the operator went into liquidation. Nortex took over the plant in 2006, providing a US$4.4m overhaul to bring it up to modern standards before recommencing production in 2009.

The cement grinding facility, which makes the bulk of cement made in Botswana, is operated by South Africa's PPC under a local subsidiary, PPC Botswana. This 0.4Mt/yr facility is the result of a plan that dates back to the 1980s that sought to establish an integrated cement plant close to a limestone reserve at Naka-la-Phala. However, investigation of the reserves showed that they would not economically support an integrated cement plant in the long term. The joint partners in the project, PPC and the Botswana Development Corportation (BDC),decided to establish a grinding plant close to the capital Gaborone instead. Construction of the plant began in 1994 and it sold its first cement in 1996. It remains the largest cement production site in the country 20 years later.

As it has almost zero integrated cement manufacturing capacity, most of Botswana's cement needs are currently met by imports of both cement and clinker. These mainly come from South African cement producers that have been grappling with relatively poor sales at home. Around half of the imports are from PPC, which also supplies clinker to its Gaborone grinding plant from its nearest South African facilities.

Due to its close links, cement prices are closely linked to those in South Africa, which currently hover in the region of US$125/t. By the time the cement crosses the border, prices may easily exceed US$150/t.

As a result, it has long been a target to set up a large-scale integrated cement plant in Botswana. The largest of these was the PPC/BDC plan to set up a plant at Naka-la-Phala. While there are no new facilities in the pipeline at the moment, the government is keen to move away from reliance on expensive cement imports and diamond exports. The coal and cement industries have been identified as among those key to longer-term development. It is, therefore, probably only a matter of time before this rapidly-developing country gets a cement industry to match its economic and political standing.

The Kingdom of Lesotho is a land-locked country that is an enclave within South Africa. It has an undeveloped economy, the result of years of political instability since the departure of the British in 1966. Indeed, King Letsie III was only recently able to recall parliament on 18 October 2014 after a failed military coup on 30 August 2014 that suspended regular government activities.

The country remains heavily dependent on South Africa for much of its trade and around 80% of its food requirements. Due to long-term high unemployment, many inhabitants have migrated to South Africa, sending money back to their families at home.

There are currently no cement production facilities in Lesotho, with South Africa the main source for the material. The Kingdom typically consumes 0.2Mt/yr, which is approximately 95kg/capita due to a population of ~2.1 million.

However, in October 2013 the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) announced plans to develop a US$36m,0.2Mt/yr plant in the country to supply the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). After completion of the LHWP, cement produced from the new development would be diverted to general use, removing the need to import it from South Africa. The country has largereserves of clay and sand, meaning that raw material imports would be significantly reduced if a domestic plant is built. However, information regarding the progress of the project is hard to come by, with no new information since the initial announcement.

It is possible that PPC could also be involved in the new plant, as it looks to expand across Africa. Indeed, South African investors account for 80% of Lesotho's foreign investment. Another possibility is the involvement of Chinese investors, as has been seen in other African nation, for example Zimbabwe.

A former colony of Portugal, Mozambique gained its independence in 1975. However, it was unable to develop effectively until the mid-1990s due to severe droughts, governmental mismanagement and a prolonged civil war. During this time it became dependant on South Africa for the majority of its international economic activity and trade.

However, progress has been made since the establishment of free multi-party elections in 1994. Since then, the country has increasingly pulled itself up the international rankings from being one of the most deprived countries on the planet. In the decade to 2013, Mozambique grew at an average annual rate of 6-8%, one of the most rapid improvements in Africa.

It is anticipated that the country will increasingly position itself to be able to take advantage of international investment in its mineral sectors. However, political instability remains, with protests over food and fuel price increases in 2010. Unemployment runs at 17% and more than half of Mozambique's 24.6 million residents live below the poverty line.

Mozambique has two integrated cement plants and a number of active grinding plants. A number of other developments, both integrated and grinding, are in various stages of development. The largest player in the industry is InterCement, which operates via a number of subsidiaries and other arrangements. It has a total capacity of 2.11Mt/yr according to Global Cement research. Although the InterCement website claims a capacity of 2.9Mt/yr, it does not break this down on a plant-by-plant basis.

The only other player in full production at present in the Mozambican cement industry is Cimentos Nacional, a subsidiary of Cimentos Brennand of Brazil. One grinding plant, to be operated by Austral Cimentos in Dondo, entered commissioning in the middle of 2014 prior to full-scale production in 2015. PPC Mozambique, China-Mozambique Cement & Mining and Consolidated General Materials all have facilities that are either planned or under construction, as detailed in Table 1.

The rate of development in the Mozambican cement industry has certaintly been rapid in recent years, with clinker and cement sales increasing by 13.7% in 2010 and Cimentos de Moambique's sales rising by 9.8% in 2013. The pace of change can also be seen by looking at the relative national production capacities before and after the addition of those projects currently planned or under construction. Before one considers these projects, Mozambique's capacity is 2.66Mt/yr. After they have been implemented, capacity will rise to nearly 5.5Mt/yr. It should be noted that this, however impressive, is well ahead of current production according to the USGS.

According to Insitec, a minority stake-holder in Cimentos de Moambique, the growth of the industry is set to continue. It states that demand for cement will rise to 1.5Mt in 2014 and continue afterwards, hitting 1.8Mt in 2018. Combined with strong economic growth of 7% in 2013 and IMF forecasts for 8.2% and 8.5% growth in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Mozambique will only attract more attention from investors in the cement industry in the coming years.

Formerly a German colony, South West Africa, the Republic of Namibia was occupied by South Africa throughout the first half of the 20th Century. An armed struggle by the Marxist South-West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), which started in 1966, resulted in the removal of South African control in 1990. Since then, SWAPO has ruled the country.

So far in the 21st Century, Namibia's economy has more than doubled in size (Figure 5). In the early to mid 2000s this was based on strong mineral sales, especially sales of diamonds. More recently demand for these has slowed, although Namibia's range of minerals is broad, including copper, oil and uranium. This has brought it relatively high levels of wealth in regional terms but its higher GDP/capita level hides one of the highest income inequality gaps in the world. Economic extremes are even further apart than in Namibia's southern neighbour, South Africa.

However, this situation changed in 2011 with the commissioning of Namibia's only cement plant to date, Ohorongo Cement. Ohorongo Cement is 70% owned by Germany's Schwenk Zement, with the remaining 30% shared between the Development Bank of Namibia, The Development Bank of South Africa and the Industrial Development Corporation.

Ohorongo Cement was established by Schwenk at the invitation of Namibian investors in 2007 and construction began close to the northern town of Otavi in early 2008. The main contractor, Polysius, supplied the project on a turn-key basis and the total investment was US$227m of total investment. The plant made its first cement at the start of 2011. By April 2013 it had made 1Mt of cement.

As its planning and construction was presided over by an experienced German cement producer and a leading cement plant manufacturer, the Ohorongo plant meets European norms in many areas. Its pollutants are emitted to German emissions standards and it is the most thermally-efficient cement plant in Africa. Due to its experience with alternative fuels in its native Germany, Schwenk ensured that the plant was designed with the ability to use biomass as well as coal. Indeed, the plant routinely uses blackthorn, a rampant weed that threatens local crops, for 30% of its thermal power requirements. The plant intends to use blackthorn for up to 80% of its thermal power requirements in the future.

Since commissioning, Ohorongo has sold the majority of its cement in the domestic market, with around 0.1Mt/yr destined for export markets in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Exports to South Africa were not anticipated, due to the long distance between the plant and the major South African population centres and the lack of cement demand south of the border.

However, a major obstacle has been an import ban from its northern neighbour, oil-rich Angola, since 2011. That country had been sourcing cement from China, but now claims to be self-reliant. Ohorongo has also been in dispute with foreign importers and theNamibian government over the extent of its entitlements under 'Infant Industry Status,' which it claimed protected it from foreign imports in the coming years. In the future, there may also be regional pressure from Nigerian imports as Dangote Cement expands its reach across Africa.

However, a strong emphasis on its Namibian-made product continue to attract strong sales within Namibia. All raw materials used in the process are sourced domestically. In addition, the plant won strong business in 2012 when it secured the contract to supply StHelena, a British overseas territory, with cement for the construction of its new airport in July 2012. This project will provide an export market for Ohorongo Cement until its completion in 2016.

South Africa was first colonised by Dutch traders as a stopping off point between the Netherlands and the Far East in the 1600s. Numerous disputes with the British in the 1800s, culminating in the Second Anglo-Boer War, gave rise to joint British-Afrikans control from 1910 onwards. The country became a Republic in 1961 when it gained independence.

Between 1948 and 1994 the country followed a policy of apartheid, ostensibly separate development of the races, but in reality a device to promote the interests of the white minority over the native black majority. The end of apartheid was brought about through the actions of African National Congress (ANC) and allied groups. Upon his release from prison in 1990, anti-aparthied activist and ANC leader Nelson Mandela became the first black South African President. He stepped down after one term in 1999 and has since been followed by three other ANC Presidents.

Despite the policy of apartheid, South Africa's economy was able to grow in the initial years after the departure of the British. However, economic sanctions in the 1970s and 1980s led to an increasingly isolated position and many areas of the South African economy suffered. Gold sales were particularly badly hit and the country was unable to source sufficient oil supplies, which impacted on other activities. It was a combination of international political pressure and economic reality that led to the first multi-racial elections in 1994.

Since 1994, however, South Africa has been able to fully exploit the natural advantages that it had been unable to during apartheid. It is now able to take advantage of its vast mineral wealth and some of the best communications and transport links in Africa. It has a growing financial services industry and the 16th-largest stock-exchange in the world. However, the country still suffers from extreme wealth inequality, a hangover from the apartheid regime. With one of the most unequal societies on the planet, crime rates are very high.

South Africa has by far the largest cement industry in southern Africa and one of the largest on the continent along with Nigeria and Egypt. The country has 12 integrated cement plants and six cement and slag grinding facilities, as detailed in Figure 4 and Table 1. The bulk of the cement production sites are in the north-western Provinces of North West Province and Gauteng. The western coastal State of Kwazulu Natal also has a relatively high number of cement plants. The country's total cement production capacity exceeds 15.6Mt/yr.

The largest player in the South African market is PPC, (formerly known as Pretoria Portland Cement), which has seven integrated cement plants and a capacity of 4.75Mt/yr. Its plants are mainly located in the aforementioned north western states, although the company has a plant in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. The second-largest established producer by capacity is Natal Portland Cement (NPC), an InterCement subsidiary, which has a 1.5Mt/yr integrated cement plant at Port Shepstone and grinding facilities at Durban (1.2Mt/yr) and Newcastle (0.45Mt/yr). Its total capacity is 3.15Mt/yr. Third is Afrisam, which has two integrated cement plants and a total of 2.05Mt/yr of cement production capacity.

The fouth player is Lafarge Africa, the recently-formed Lafarge unit that covers South Africa and Nigeria. It has one integrated plant at Lichtenberg, (albeit partially mothballed) and a grinding plant at Randfontein. Its capacity is over 2Mt/yr.

There are also two newer players on the South African scene: Sephaku Cement and Mamba Cement. Sephaku Cement is 64%-owned by Nigeria's Dangote Cement and forms part of that producer's advance across Africa. The company's other shareholders include Jidong Cement from China. It has an integrated plant at Lichtenberg (1.25Mt/yr) and a grinding plant at Delmas (1.4Mt/yr). Meanwhile, Mamba Cement is currently constructing an integrated cement plant in Northam, Limpopo Province.

South Africa's domestic sales totalled 12.2Mt in 2013, which was 5.3% higher than the 11.6Mt sold in 2012. This is some way below the country's >15.6Mt/yr cement production capacity and gives a utilisation rate of ~78%. Imports surged by 44% in 2013 to 1.1Mt in 2013, up from 0.75Mt in 2012.

Taken together, these figures suggest a strong South African market, but analysts think that the industry is heading into a tough period in the short- and medium-term. Speaking in April 2014, Gavin Wood, chief investment officer at Kagiso Asset Management, said, "Cement producer margins are likely to suffer as the various cement producers battle it out for market share." This view was echoed by one of Global Cement's regular correspondents, who said that the entry of Sephaku and Mamba would 'make the industry poorer and less profitable for the traditional players.'

And, of course, not all imports are welcome. Unwanted imports from Pakistan have also been a recurring theme for the South African cement market over recent years. In August 2014, South African authorities started a new investigation into imports. Afrisam, Lafarge Africa, NPC and PPC have alleged that Pakistani firms had sold cement in South Africa at nearly 50% of the price that it would have been sold for in Pakistan. They gave a price of ~US$55/t for Pakistan-made cement, which undercuts the ~US$128/t cost of South African-produced cement by 57%.

From an economic development standpoint, the picture also looks shaky. The IMF forecasts that the economy will have grown by just 1.4% in 2014 and it recently downgraded its 2015 estimate to 2.3%. The South African Reserve Bank has also halved its forecast for 2014, down from 3.0% to 1.5%.

The Swazis of southern Africa gained independence from the UK in 1968. Today the landlocked Kingdom of Swaziland is Africa's last absoulte monarchy, ruled by King Mswati III. Following popular protests in the 1990s, the King has allowed political parties to form. A constitution came into force in 2006, although real changes have been limited.

The economy of Swaziland is heavily dominated by its poweful neighbour, South Africa. This is highlighted by the fact that 90% of Swaziland's imports and 60% of its exports are traded with that country. The Swazi currency, the Lilangeni, is even pegged to the South African Rand, meaning that Swaziland's economic policies are effectively those of South Africa. Many Swazis also live and work in South Africa, sending income back home to a domestic population that is 70% employed in subsistance farming.

A number of major South African cement producers supply Swaziland over the border. PPC launched its Swazi unit in 2012 as part of its efforts to expand outside of South Africa. It currently uses this to supply the country with South African-made cement from its units in the north west. Afrisam also has a local unit that does the same. It uses the national rail freight service, Swaziland Railway, to do this. Swaziland Rail lists Afrisam as its most important cement importer. It is one of Swaziland Railway's most important importers of any commodity.

The prospects of an integrated Swazi cement plant or even a grinding plant are low at the moment. The country is growing slowly, at 2.1% in 2014 according to the IMF. Increased capacity in South Africa will likely be exported to Swaziland, Lesotho and others if it is not consumed domestically.

Zimbabwe is a former British annex, formerly known as Rhodesia. It declared independence from the UK in 1965, a period during which white residents benefitted from a constitution that kept them in power. Instead of granting the country independence, the UK demanded more power for the black majority.

Following a lengthy armed uprising the country had its first free elections in 1979 and was granted independence as Zimbabwe in 1980. The 1979 elections gave power to Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe ever since, first as Prime Minister and now as President. To date his tenure has been chaotic and violent. It has included intimidation and violence against opposing political parties, the rigging of elections, flawed land re-distribution policies and price controls that led to hyper-inflation and a crippled economy in the late 2000s.

Since the start of the 2010s, the economy has fared better, growing by as much as 10% in 2010-11 (Figure 8), although progress has since slowed. A 'dollarisation policy,' which now sees eight currencies, (the Euro, US Dollar, Pounds Sterling, Indian Rupee, Chinese Yuan, Batswana Pula, Australian Dollar and South African Rand), used instead of the now-closed Zimbabwean Dollar, has ended hyper-inflation. However, poor revenues, high debt and high unemployment remain major barriers to futurelong-term growth.

Zimbabwe has four integrated cement plants and a total capacity of 2.76Mt/yr. There are three producers, PPC Zimbabwe, (a unit of South Africa's PPC), Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe and Sino-Zimbabwe Cement, a joint-venture between Industrial DevelopmentCorporation of Zimbabwe and China Building Material Industrial Corporation for Foreign Econo-Technical Cooperation.

PPC Zimbabwe is the largest of the three. The company traces its history back to 1914, when the country's first cement plant began operation in Bulaweyo. Originally incorporated as Premier Portland Cement, the company was forced to merge with competitor Rhodesia Cement Ltd in 1965 after demand plummeted during independence disputes with the British. The new company, known as Unicem, operated at its Bulaweyo and Colleen Bawn sites until 2001, when PPC purchased the company.

Today, PPC Zimbabwe has a cement capacity of 0.76Mt/yr of cement from its own kilns over the two sites. The Colleen Bawn plant can also grind an additional 0.3Mt/yr of clinker, which the company sources from its parent's South African plants. PPC is in the process of constructing a new US$200m plant close to the capital Harare. It will have a capacity of 1Mt/yr once in operation and will serve the Zimbabwean and central Mozambican cement markets.

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe has a single cement plant, the 0.5Mt/yr Manresea works close to Harare. The plant was a former Blue Circle subsidiary, operating as Circle Cement, until Lafarge acquired Blue Circle in 2001.

The third player is Sino-Zimbabwe Cement. It has a single 0.2Mt/yr integrated plant in Gweru, approximately half way between Harare and Bulaweyo. Originally established in 2001, the plant's capacity was doubled using an investment from its Chinese shareholder in 2014. As part of the investment, the plant made improvements to its dust mitigation system.The company aims to be a major player in the Zimbabwean cement market.

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