Lesotho gets local AfriSam cement plant
After years of supplying Lesotho with its cement and construction materials, leading supplier AfriSam recently commissioned a new cement blending and packing facility in Maseru to serve that market. This is the first cement manufacturing facility established in the country.
Lesotho’s Prime Minister Dr Pakalitha Mosisili hailed the plant as a ‘significant milestone’ for the region and a boost for local socio-economic development.
Dr Mosisili highlighted that in developed countries one job in the cement industry creates ten times more upstream and downstream jobs. “This figure may be four to five times higher in developing countries,” he said.
The capacity of the plant – over 200,000 tons a year of bagged cement – will meet the current local cement demand, while also being capable of producing specialised products for large infrastructure projects like the Lesotho Highlands Water scheme.
The main raw material for the plant – milled clinker – is railed to Maseru in bulk wagons from AfriSam’s Ulco facility near Kimberley. This is beneficiated with pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from Lethabo power station near Vereeniging in the Free State province.
The plant has been designed to produce the range of products most commonly used by local customers, including AfriSam High Strength Cement (52,5 N); AfriSam All Purpose Cement (42,5 N); AfriSam Roadstab Cement (32,5 N); and AfriSam Starbuild (32,5 N).
“However, the plant can easily and quickly accommodate other blends specified by customers who have particular requirements,” says Gavin Venter, AfriSam’s manager – strategic projects.
Venter adds that environmental issues have been stringently addressed by equipping the plant with dust filters that prevent the generation of dust and create a dust-free operation.
During the construction of the plant AfriSam made extensive use of local service providers and suppliers, including architects and civil contractors; local workers were also employed during the construction process. Today, the plant has created a number of new positions including plant management, operators and maintenance staff, as well as downstream employment opportunities.
Looking ahead, the company has plans for the plant to become a significantly larger cement manufacturing facility.
“AfriSam has already put plans in place to expand the current blending and packing facility to include a clinker grinding plant,” Venter says.
More information from Maxine Nel, Tel: +27 011 670 5893 / www.afrisam.com