Cement Products Limited (CPL), a cement manufacturing firm based in Mangochi, has announced plans to invest $24 million (K18 billion) in new plant to increase cement output by 50 percent.
The company is close to an area where preliminary findings have revealed 47 million tonnes of limestone deposits.
Currently, CPL produces 500 tonnes of cement per day with imported clinker from Zimbabwe.
Speaking in an interview when Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka toured the mine on Friday, CPL chairperson Aslam Gaffar said the investment is an indication that the company has a long lifespan.
He said: “We have been in operation for several years now, and we are happy with our operations. However, it has been our ambition to continue growing; hence, we have embarked on a second phase of putting up machines which will help us double production of cement from 500 tonnes per day to 1 000 tonnes.
“We are expecting to pump in about K18 billion for the machine since lime deposits that we have will last for about 90 years.”
Gaffar said the company currently employs about 200 people, but once the second phase is complete, over 500 jobs will be created and people around the mine will also benefit as they will be allowed to sell limestone to the company.
He asked government to put in place measures that will promote the usage of cement blocks in the construction industry, especially now that deforestation is taking a toll on trees.
“Our forests are gone and what government needs to do is put in place measures that will stop usage of burnt bricks because at the rate we are going, we will not have trees in the next 10 years,” said Gaffar.
On his part, Msaka said mining has the potential to transform the country’s economy if companies borrow a leaf from CPL.
“Not many people know what CPL is doing here. What I have seen just confirms what I have been saying all along that mining is possible in Malawi. This is a Malawian-owned business, and as government, we will make sure that we help them realise their goals,” he said.
Msaka said once the second phase of the factory is complete, the shortage of cement in the country will be a thing of the past.
“This company is creating jobs, and with the deposits that they have, it means they will be here for the next 100 years. As government, we will make sure that they get incentives to make their operations smooth. We want this to be an example of proper partnerships between government and the private sector,” he said.
A geological expert, Grain Malunga, who is also former minister of Energy and Mining, said CPL has the potential to be the biggest cement producer in the country.
He said once mining activities start where lime deposits have been found, many jobs will be created for the people of Mangochi.