PPC Zimbabwe intends to spend at least US$200 million on building a new cement processing plant in Mashonaland Central Province with an annual capacity of one million tonnes, managing director Mr Zak Limbada said yesterday.
"At the moment, we are busy drilling to identify the raw materials in Rushinga area and some north eastern parts of the country," he said during a sideline interview after the signing ceremony of a share subscription agreement between PPC, Umguza and Gwanda Share Community Ownership Trusts.
"We are targeting an additional one million tonnes to add on what we are currently producing but there is a lot that needs to be done." PPC has a cement manufacturing plant located about 10km out of Bulawayo along Harare road, where it has capacity to manufacture one million tonnes per year.
Mr Limbada said PPC will "be soon making an announcement" on the new project.
He could not, however, say how the company intends to raise funds for the project.
Zimbabwe's cement companies have a combined annual capacity of 1,6 million tonnes. Larfage and Sino Cement produce 400 000 and 250 000 tonnes respectively.
Meanwhile, Portland Holdings has received a certificate of compliance with National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board after signing a share subscription with Umguza and Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trusts that will see the company disposing 29,6 percent to indigenous Zimbabweans.
The company also donated seed capital of US$3 million to Umguza and Gwanda.
Under the scheme, Umguza and Gwanda received 5 percent shareholding apiece, an employee ownership trust got 5 percent, the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund received 9,7 percent stake while strategic indigenous investors got 4,9 percent shareholding of the company.
Before that transaction, PHL was 21,4 percent owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere applauded PPC for complying, saying the broad-based empowerment programme would go a long way in creating wealth for indigenous people.
"Those days of islands of prosperity have gone," said Minister Kasukuwere. "We are beginning to see wealth coming to the rightful owners and these are Zimbabweans."
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu said the indigenisation drive has gone into full swing as witnessed by the launch of share ownership schemes around the country, the latest being Mashonaland Central.
"Today's signing ceremony subsequent to the launch of the Matabeleland North Community Share Ownership Scheme in Hwange is one such landmark step towards communities becoming active participants in the growth of the business, economy and community development as co-owners of means of production," he said.
"The essence of this event therefore is to give the needed impetus for Gwanda and Umguza communities to be able to implement development projects according to their own priorities," he added.
Zimbabwe Platinum Mines were the first companies to launch a CSOT in Mhondoro in October last year. Unki Mine in Shurugwi was the second and the third scheme was launched at Mimosa Mine in Zvishavane. There is also one in Marange, Manicaland.
In the past few weeks, two schemes were launched in Matabeleland and Mash Central.