‘Cement production sustainable for GDP growth, infrastructural devt’
The Raw Material Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has described the production of cement as sustainable and capable of boosting road and housing infrastructure as the country has abundant deposits of raw materials for various types of cement.
The Director-General of the council, Prof. Hussein Ibrahim, disclosed this in a document made available to The Guardian.
The Nigerian cement industry has three major players, he said, with Dangote Cement Plc having 60.6 per cent share, with an installed capacity of 29.3 million MT; Lafarge Africa Plc has 21.8 per cent share with 10.5 million MT and BUA Group accounts for 17.6 per cent share with eight million MT.
There are also other small players like Purechem Industries with 900,000 MT.
“Today, the country exports cement, although a small quantity is still being imported. The value of exports of Portland cement, from Nigeria totalled $38 million in 2019 and this constituted 0.071 per cent of total exports, while the value of imports of Portland cement the same year was $4.58,” he said.
The major driver increasing demand for cement in Nigeria, he added, is housing construction and infrastructure development. The crucial forces on the demand for residential housing are population pressure and the rent level. The housing deficit in Nigeria is estimated at 17 million.
Challenges facing its production, he identified, include high initial setup capital and operating costs, which have led to the closure of companies such as Eastern Bulkcem and Ibeto Group.
“Also, the erratic power supply, poor state of infrastructure, cost of haulage of primary raw materials, the distribution cost of finished cement, technology inadequacies and foreign exchange instability are militating against optimal performance of the industry,” he added.
He said the council, since inception, had recognised the need for the development and utilisation of Nigeria’s mineral resources for sustainable development.
Prof. Ibrahim disclosed that to promote optimal use of local raw materials in the cement industry, the council had worked on the development of limestone and gypsum minerals locally, and the efforts and those of other relevant MDA’s had led to the documentation and publication of both limestone and gypsum deposits in Nigeria.
Most of these deposits have been characterised and classified.
Other major areas RMRDC had contributed to the sustainable development of limestone in recent times are in the design, fabrication and installation of granulated limestone processing plant in Calabar, Cross River State; the development, fabrication and installation of a hydrated lime production plant in Kwakuti, Niger State, in collaboration with Bembu Mining and Engineering Services Ltd., and the development, fabrication and installation of a hydrated lime production plant in National Research Institute of Chemical Technology (NARICT), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The council, in partnership with established a private entrepreneur, went into a joint venture arrangement and incorporated a company named Finestones Processing Nigeria Ltd, located in Calabar, Cross-River State, for the processing of granulated limestone for fertiliser blending purposes.