Chinese firm clinches deal to construct Sh15.5b cement plant in West Pokot


Updated Tue, 10 May 2016 11:26:07 GMT

China Investment Trustee International Corporation China (CITIC) has been contracted to carry out construction works at a cement factory planned for West Pokot.

CITIC has already started shipping in machinery and equipment for the construction of Pokot Cement, which is scheduled for completion in June next year.

The plant is expected to create direct employment for 600 people once operational, and hundreds of indirect jobs through sub-contracts and supply deals.

The board of Indian firm Sanghi Cement Group, which is the holding company for the Kenyan subsidiary, Cemtech, met last week and agreed to launch a 3D model of the Pokot Cement project. Sanghi Cement owns and runs the world’s largest single-stream cement plant.

According to the firm’s managing director, Rajeshkumar Rawal, the $154 million (Sh15.5 billion) Kenyan project, once complete, will be Africa’s most ultra-modern, eco-friendly cement-producing unit.

The plant will produce 1.2 million tonnes (24 million bags) of cement per annum, and will include a 30-megawatt power plant.

Mutual partnerships

The factory is expected to meet local cement demands, with the surplus exported to the East African market.

Borrowing technology and centuries of experience in cement production from India, the Kenyan unit is expected to be the first cement factory in the region to produce its own clinker. This is intended to help maximise the exploitation of natural resources and ease the strain on foreign exchange used to import clinker.

In August last year, West Pokot County Governor Simon Kachapin led a group of eight local leaders and community representatives to India where details of mutual partnerships were discussed with Sanghi.

Pokot Cement’s management agreed to provide social amenities, including schools, dispensaries and roads.

Between 2010 and 2014, Cemtech has been granted 18 licences, permissions, consents, title deeds and a 99-year lease by the national government and West Pokot County.

The cement factory project was first mooted in 2010, but has been delayed over various issues, including questions over the plant’s location and accessibility to it.

However, Cemtech managers said they have since resolved all issues raised by carrying out 32 studies on its 650 acres project site, as well as several in-depth geological evaluation exercises to ascertain the quality and quantity of raw materials.

“We have now resolved the two major challenges on quality of limestone and ground geometric technicalities that delayed the start of Pokot Cement’s construction,” said Cemtech General Manager Diptish Nandha.