Has Dangote stopped plans to build cement plant in Kitui?
A firm owned by Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote has abruptly stopped prospecting for limestone in Kanziku area, Kitui County.
The move by Dangote Quarries Ltd has dampened the mood of the locals who fear the multinational might have halted plans to put up a multi-billion shilling cement plant.
The firm had been prospecting for limestone for over a year although they were yet to establish its commercial viability. The reports emerge at a time when Africa’s richest person is set to unveil East Africa’s biggest cement factory in Ethiopia at a cost of $500 million (Sh46.5 billion).
Dangote had promised to put up a Sh34.8 billion cement plant in Kitui to rival that of Athi River Mining Company Ltd estimated to be worth Sh26 billion set for Ngaaie area in Kyuso district Of key concern to the residents is failure by the firm to honour its promise of compensating individual farmers Sh30, 000 disturbance fee, in areas where the company was drilling wells for prospecting.
Vincent Mutambuki, who chairs the Kanziku/Simisi liaison committee, an entity recognised by the county government said so far, they have not had any meaningful engagement with Dangote firm.
County Executive in Charge of Environment, Energy and Minerals Investment Development George Mulatya however said he was not aware if the company had pulled out, adding that the investor had requested more time to re-organise themselves.
“All I know is they had asked we give them more time to put a few things in order,” noted Mulatya.
A member of the Ene Mali team Wilfred Mutuva asked Dangote Quarries to pay the disturbance allowance as agreed before it can be allowed to carry out any more works in the area.
He revealed that his team was wooing other investors such as Savanna Cement and National Cement to invest in the vast limestone deposits of Kanziku.
A linkman between Dangote Quarries Ltd and the Kanziku community John Nzuki says the investor has no plans of pulling out, noting that the firm is only re-organising itself because the investment is of high magnitude.