HARARE, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday commissioned a Chinese-built cement manufacturing plant owned by the country's largest cement producer, Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) Zimbabwe.
The 85 million U.S. dollars cement plant, situated in Harare and poised to become a regional cement export hub, was built by Chinese firm Sinoma over two years up to 2016.
The state-of-the-art cement plant, with an annual production capacity of 700,000 tonnes, is the firm's third plant in Zimbabwe and boosts the firm's installed production capacity to 1.8 million tonnes annually from 1.1 million tonnes.
Mugabe thanked the South African-owned firm for the investment, which will enable the company to meet Zimbabwe's national cement demand estimated at a million tonnes annually.
"I am informed that PPC plant, the newest and among the largest in the country, uses newest and exceptional technology," Mugabe said.
"I wish to commend and congratulate PPC Zimbabwe for investing in this state-of-the-art plant," he added.
Mugabe thanked the Chinese contractor Sinoma for its expertise and installation of cutting edge technology at the cement plant, the first ever in Zimbabwe.
"The plant's design and construction was done in adherence to global emissions standards, thanks to the technology and expertise from PPC's Chinese partners," he said.
The plant has a state-of-the-art palletizer and plastic cover wrapping machine. The machine is automated and packs 40 bags of cement into a pallet in a neat unit. The palletizer helps to improve output, making life easier and improving service delivery to customers.
Zimbabwean industry minister Mike Bimha said the integrated cement milling plant was a milestone in the advancement of Zimbabwe's economy.
He said by building the plant, PPC had shown its commitment to the growth and development of Zimbabwe's economy.
PPC Limited group chairman Peter Nelson said the new plant will enable the firm to become a cement export hub in the region.
Apart from PPC Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe has two other cement producers, Larfarge Zimbabwe and Sino-Zim with installed capacity of 450,000 tonnes and 250,000 tonnes respectively.