24 August 2010 | Nick Martindale
Cement buyers in southern Africa could benefit from falling prices and greater security of supply with the opening of a plant by Ohorongo Cement in January 2011.
The Namibian firm says it intends to serve international markets as well as Namibia and southern Angola from the plant at Ohorongo, which will have the capacity to generate 700,000 tonnes of cement a year, more than twice the 320,000 tonnes required by the Namibian market.
Hans-Wilhelm Schütte, managing director of Ohorongo Cement, said: “Namibia is our favourite market, followed directly by southern Angola, but other regions in demand of cement will certainly also benefit from our excess capacity.”
Roland Ludwig, senior architectural technologist at Axel Dainat Architects in Namibia, said having a local producer of cement would keep costs down. In the past, raw materials were mainly exported to manufacturers elsewhere, only to be imported again as a final product, he said.
“This influences procurement time and has heavy cost implications. Producing and manufacturing locally ensures jobs, guaranteed supply and competitive prices.”
Ohorongo has also signed a contract to source iron ore from Namibian firm Okorusu rather than importing it from South Africa or Germany, and it is close to finalising a deal with another local business for the supply of gypsum.
Schütte said: “As the plant is reaching completion, the sourcing of local raw materials and products is becoming more important. We have concluded and are currently negotiating agreements with local companies to secure supplies and materials.”
Andrew Muhimbise, a consultant at Octopus Procurement and member of the online community Procurement Initiatives Africa, said: “Any price reductions will come from no longer having to import cement from South Africa. Also raw materials, notably iron ore, are to be sourced within Namibia.”