PPC plans new R4-billion factory

Pretoria Portland Cement said on Monday it was seeking government approval for a new R4-billion cement factory to replace its ageing plant in the Western Cape.

PPC said construction would begin in mid-2009 and take about three years to complete if the project is approved. It would have a capacity of about 1,3-million tonnes a year.

“Cement is a strategic commodity and if there is a shortfall it will have to be imported to the Western Cape from overseas, which would drive up the cost,” Orrie Fenn, PPC’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“The new factory will ensure that there will be sufficient supply to meet projected demand into the future.”

South Africa is experiencing a construction boom ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup and on the back of a government infrastructure drive.

PPC’s exisiting plant at Riebeeck in the Western Cape produces about 550 000 tonnes of cement a year. Fenn said the Western Cape may face a cement shortage in the next five years if production capacity is not increased.

The report will be presented to the Western Cape Department of Environmental Affairs and Planning in 60 days.
- Reuters

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