Message Mer 29 Juil 2009 17:17

Lafarge Cement follows developments at Maamba Collieries

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Lafarge Cement follows developments at Maamba Collieries
Written by Kabanda Chulu
LAFARGE Cement Zambia chairman Muna Hantuba has said the company is following with interest the developments at Maamba Collieries so that its full production can result in availability of local materials for cement production.

Last week, mines minister Maxwell Mwale, without being specific, announced that the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) was currently negotiating with a preferred strategic equity partner, Nava Bharat Ventures of Singapore, for Maamba Coal mines and a thermal power plant.

When asked why the company prefers to buy materials from outside the country, Hantuba said there must be consistency in the supply of raw materials to avoid shortages that could affect plant machinery.

He said the company was looking forward to work with Maamba Collieries Limited once it attained full production.

“If Maamba comes on stream it will avail us the opportunity to purchase local raw materials. In fact we will prefer to source materials locally in order to cut down on costs of transportation,” Hantuba said. “But we do not want to disrupt running contracts with foreign suppliers especially that now the plant is huge and it is consuming large quantities of materials and we do not want to experience problems in case there is a shortage of materials.”

Due to the inadequacy and inconsistency in supplies from Maamba Collieries Limited and other smaller Zambian coal mines, Lafarge Cement Zambia has entered into long-term contracts with Hwange Coal Mines of Zimbabwe to ensure continued supplies of raw materials.

The Zambian government wholly owns Maamba Collieries Limited through its subsidiary company, ZCCM Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) and negotiations have been ongoing with a preferred bidder, Nava Bharat, which is likely to get some undisclosed percentage of shares and consequently invest in the country’s largest coal mines.