The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
TWO Chinese firms are set to invest in the setting-up of multi-million-dollar cement manufacturing plants in Hwange.
Livetouch Investments has undertaken to channelling about US$15 million towards the construction of a cement manufacturing plant in Hwange while another company, Sino-Zimbabwe Cement Company has also done the same with the project being earmarked in the same area although the amount of investment could not be ascertained at the time of going to Press.
Although officials of the two Chinese firms confirmed the developments, they could not be drawn into divulging more information. However, authoritative sources privy to the two projects confirmed that the Chinese firms had already started preliminary work to set up the plants.
Livetouch Investments’ environmental consultant Mr Michael Montana of Environmental Guardians Services (EGS) said the company was at an advanced stage of obtaining an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certificate from the Environmental Management Agency (Ema), which would enable them to kick-start construction activities.
“Livetouch intends to put up a cement manufacturing factory in Hwange within the Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL)’s concession area. The Colliery has already given them the land and a lease agreement. On our part we (EGS) have already done a prospectus and Ema has given us the greenlight to do an EIA of which we are 90 percent towards completing and expect to submit the report by next week,” he said.
Mr Montana said the setting-up of the cement manufacturing plant in Hwange by Livetouch was a premeditated move as it would enable the company to easily source coal, which is one of the strategic raw materials in cement production.
“The setting-up of the cement plant, which is estimated to cost US$15 million is an advantage to HCCL because Livetouch will be harvesting coal dumps, as its major ingredient and mixing it with clinker to produce cement. So, for HCCL, it will be part of mine closure (reclamation) because it (HCCL) has over one million tonnes of those dumps. So, it’s more of cleaning of the environment because it was more of an eyesore,” he said.
Apart from being a major source of energy for heating up the kilns, coal is the main ingredient for cement production. The company’s project will consist of a cement production plant, a workshop for trucks and equipment and brick production plant.
Livetouch Investments is the owner of Diamond Cement Zimbabwe, a Redcliff based cement maker.
Hwange Local Board Town Secretary Mr Ndumiso Mdlalose also confirmed that Sino-Zimbabwe Cement had already acquired six hectares at the local authority’s heavy industrial site.
“Sino-Zimbabwe Cement are coming to set up a plant, they have since bought the land and we are actually waiting for them to come and start work,” he said.
Mr Mdlalose said the investment by Sino-Zimbabwe Cement would go a long way towards ensuring infrastructural development as well as growing the economy of Hwange.
“In our view it’s a good development especially if you are looking at a town like Hwange where there is so much construction, for instant there is going to be the Batoka Power Station construction. We are also envisaging a number of infrastructural developmental projects as a local authority. The proximity of this company will play a very big part in all the construction projects being undertaken in this area and it will also contribute immensely to the downstream industries. For some time, we have been making efforts to court investors and this is one of the positive signs we are witnessing,” he said.
Sino-Zimbabwe Cement intends to put up a cement manufacturing factory as well as a distribution centre. Sino-Zimbabwe Cement is a joint business venture between a Chinese Foreign Direct Investment partner, China Building Material Corporation for Foreign Econo-Technical Co-operation and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of Zimbabwe Limited.