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Construction of Pokot cement plant set for January

The proposed site for a cement factory that Cemtech plans to build at Serbit in West Pokot. FILE
The proposed site for a cement factory that Cemtech plans to build at Serbit in West Pokot. FILE 

The construction of the long awaited Sh10 billion cement processing factory at Sebit-Ortum in West Pokot County is set to begin in January next year, the company announced Tuesday.

Cemtech Limited general manager Diptish Nandha said the company has finally managed to sort out logistical challenges that had delayed the commencement of the project for the past five years.

Speaking Tuesday after meeting West Pokot County Governor Simon Kachapin, Mr Nandha said that the construction work will commence in January next year.

“We have solved the major two problems; one was the quality of limestone content which our experts have successfully managed to solve so we can now produce quality limestone. Our engineers have also managed to solve issues concerning the location and access to the plant,” said Mr Nandha.

The company acquired 650 acres of land five years ago and residents have been waiting in vain for the establishment of the plant they anticipated would create job opportunities for them.

EMPLOY 1000 PEOPLE

Cemtech is expected to directly employ over 1000 people and benefit thousands of residents in the arid region indirectly.

The company said it will put up an environmentally friendly cement factory, along with staff houses, schools, a medical centre and other amenities.

As part of the project plan, the company will also put up a 64MW power plant to be sold to the national grid.

Cement factories are enjoying increased demand supported by major projects such as the Standard Gauge Railway, construction of major shopping malls across the country and a growing housing market.

Mr Nandha pointed out that the suppliers of the plant machinery are currently redesigning the machines to suit the county’s road network system to ease transportation.

SUIT ROADS IN KENYA

“The machines are very heavy and cannot be transported easily from Mombasa that is why we have to redesign and tailor make them to suit roads in Kenya,” added the official.

According to the feasibility study for the project which was commissioned in 2010 by the Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), the area has large limestone deposits with the potential to produce 1.2 million tons of cement per year.

The study further indicated that the area has a reserve of 5.9 million tons of limestone.

According to the study, the region is endowed with more than 35 types of minerals with minerals like gold, gemstone and rubies found in the area yet to be exploited.

KNBS data shows the local market consumed an average 87 per cent of the volume produced compared to 84 per cent in 2013.

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