Cement is an easy and inexpensive industry. By that definition, Sudan is endowed with all the requirements of a successful cement industry. These are high-quality raw materials that meet the international specifications, which are all of them plentiful in many parts of the Sudan.
The cement raw materials available in Sudan had encouraged dam construction companies to launch their own cement plants in the vicinity of the required dam, simply to cut cement transportation cost.
The most important component of cement is high quality limestone, which is in abundance around the country.
It is common knowledge that the constructors of the Sinnar (Mukwar) Dam in Central Sudan in the early 20th Century had set their own cement plant on the location. The availability of these materials was also of great help in the construction of the Meroe Dam in the early 2000s.
The Nahr el-Neel State in the Northern part of the country has now become the hub of cement industry in the country, hosting five big cement plants. Therein we find the Atbara Cement Factory, which was originally a government investment but was later on privatized. Established in 1947 under the name Atbara Portland Cement, this factory was found capable of competing with other international products of this commodity.
There are another five cement factories in this State; Alsalam (peace) Cement Plant, the Takamul (integration) Cement Plant, the Sakhr (rock) Alsudan cement Plant, Barber and the Ghubush Cement Plant.
The Manager of Alsalam Cement Plant, Engineer Aamir Hamad Ausaib tells Sudanow that cement processing is similar in some ways to gold mining and extraction, with respect to stone, blasting, crushing (grinding), heating and cooling.
" Any technician who masters the stages of gold extraction can score limitless success in making cement and vice versa ," said Engineer Ausaib.
Cement has become a strategic element in the construction business. It has caused an economic movement and has created a lot jobs.
The production capacity of Atbara Cement Plant is 400,000 tons while the other five factories produce 2000-2750 tons per day.
Limestone available on the Western Bank of the River Nile is first broken with dynamite then elevated to the plants where it will be crushed through a milling process. At this stage, additional minerals are added to ensure the correct chemical composition for making cement.
The kiln is at the heart of the manufacturing process. Once inside the kiln, the raw meal is heated to around 1,500 degrees C - a similar temperature to that of molten lava. At this temperature, chemical reactions take place to form cement clinker, which contains hydraulic calcium silicates. Then the clinker is cooled and stored, ready for grinding, to produce cement.
A small amount of gypsum (3 percent to 5 percent) is added to the clinker to regulate how the cement will set. The mixture is then very finely ground to obtain "pure cement." During this phase, different mineral materials, called "additions," may be added alongside the gypsum to give the cement specific properties, such as greater resistance to sulfates and aggressive environments.
Finally, the cement is stored in silos before being shipped in bulk or in bags to the sites where it will be used.
The Atbara Cement Plant sells its product to agents, each agent has a commercial number. Similar processes take place in the other cement plants.
Another big cement factory is Rabak Factory in the White Nile State of central Sudan. The production capacity of the factory is 100,000 tons.
The Sudan cement has helped quite a lot in advancing the construction business. It has attracted many investors from the Gulf region and other parts of the World.