South African cement manufacturer Pretoria Portland Cement's (PPC's) Zimbabwean subsidiary, Portland Holdings Limited (PHL), is to build a new cement plant in the country to service its markets in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
The announcement was made during PHL's centenary celebrations in Harare on 6 February.
"The preliminary study for a new plant in the Mashonaland province is at an advanced stage and a significant investment has already been made in exploration drilling at various locations," PPC said in a statement.
A feasibility study will be carried out, as well as the selection of a supplier.
"In recent years our investment in Zimbabwe has show strong growth on the back of a more buoyant and stable economy," said PPC's chief executive officer, Ketso Gordhan.
"This, together with the fact that PPC has received an indigenisation certificate makes us optimistic about the future of the economy and the country as a whole."
The new plant will produce about one-million tonnes of cement annually, and will work with the separate grinding facility being constructed in Tete in Mozambique.
"The construction of additional cement capacity will ensure that PPC continues to be a key player in the development of infrastructure in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries," Gordhan said.
"It is totally in line with our stated strategy of growing our non-South African revenue from the current 21% to at least 40% by 2016.
"Not only will this investment address the expected future increase in cement demand in Zimbabwe, but create employment opportunities, beneficiation of the country's mineral reserves and a significant growth opportunity for our indigenisation partners," said PHL's managing director, Zak Limbada.
PPC is the leading supplier of cement in southern Africa, with eight cement manufacturing facilities and three milling depots in South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe with total capacity of eight-million tons cement annually.
PPC also produces aggregates, metallurgical-grade lime, burnt dolomite and limestone, and exports cement and lime to various African countries.