Dangote Cement will this month do test runs for the $90 million gas-fired power plant in Mtwara, southern Tanzania, after months of delays occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The plant is expected to stop the use of imported coal besides ending diesel imports tax disputes with the government.
“Covid perturbations in India where the plant was conceived, equipment produced and engineering services located, delayed commissioning of the first turbine of our plant,” Albert Corcos, Dangote Tanzania country manager, told The EastAfrican.
Plant commissioning will start this month and is expected to go fully online in November.
The company reported a decline in cement production for the first six months of this year and said it sold 526,000 tonnes of cement in the period, four per cent lower than the same period last year.
Dangote is banking on the power plant to enhance the efficiency of its three million-metric tonne per annum capacity.
“We have had mechanical failures of some main equipment in the first four months of the year, and our maintenance to sustain reliability delayed because of the late delivery of material needed for the maintenance of our kiln,” said Mr Corcos.
The firm’s total market for cement stood at about 2.7 million metric tonnes in the first six months of this year. Group sales volumes decline by 1.5 per cent to 12.1 million tonnes from 12.2 million.
During the six months, the company, Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 48.6 million metric tonnes capacity, saw its revenues increase marginally by two per cent to $1.24 billion from $1.21 billion while its pre-tax profits increased by 4.7 per cent to $423.6 million from $404.4 million.
Pan-African sales of 4.7 million metric tonnes, a 0.7 per cent growth was due to lockdowns and restrictions across their operations. Total volume represents 39.1 per cent of the group’s volumes.
In Ethiopia where the market for cement was estimated at about 3.7 million metric tonnes in the first six months of this year, Dangote sold 1.1 million metric tonnes at its 2.5 million capacity plant, representing a 16 per cent increase year-on-year.
The company controls a market share of about 30 per cent in the country.