CBMC chairman Fang Yongbing and Sinoma Group vice president Sui Yunmin at the Sinoma brick and tile plant ground breaking ceremony in Gweru
CONSTRUCTION of a $50 million brick and tile plant being spearheaded by China National Materials Group Corporation (Sinoma) has started on the outskirts of Gweru following the official ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday.
About 500 people are expected to be employed at the new plant during the construction stage.
Sinoma, a state enterprise of the Chinese government, is a global cement-related engineering market leader controlling about 45 percent share of the world market.
It is the parent company of China Building Materials Corporation (CBMC), which owns a controlling stake in Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC).
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, Sinoma Group vice president Sui Yumin said the investment is part of the company’s strategy to expand globally.
“In line with the Chinese government’s strategy of encouraging Chinese equipment manufactures to go global and enhance capacity co-operation with other countries, the group is currently further consolidating its efforts to expand into global presence,” Yumin said.
“Considering the noted need to revive and develop the Zimbabwean economy, the Sinoma Group has decided to establish a joint venture to produce bricks and tiles. This project will create over 200 employment opportunities directly and indirectly.
“Besides, the project will give a strong boost to such related industries as logistics and non-metallic mining and take an active role in the economic development and infrastructure construction of Zimbabwe.”
Completion of the project is expected in the second quarter of next year upon which production is set to commence.
Chiwundura MP Kizito Chivamba said China has shown confidence in Zimbabwe by continuing to invest in the country at a time when detractors were striving to portray the country negatively thereby inhibiting foreign direct investment.
“As the government we promise to ensure investment friendly policies and to make Zimbabwe a favourite destination for all foreign investors. This new project will generate employment and also add value, which is in line with Zim Asset economic blue print,” he said.
Chivamba said the cost of production will be relatively low considering that all the required raw materials are found locally yet the bricks are of high quality.
“I’m sure in the next five years this project will become a major supplier of high quality sintered shale bricks and roof tiles. This is in sync with Zim-Asset objectives of encouraging foreign investors to set up new businesses and reduce unemployment in the country,” he said.
Under the shareholding arrangement for the brick and tile plant, Sinoma will have a 50 percent controlling stake while CBMC will have 20 percent.
The balance will be controlled by the Industrial Development Corporation on behalf of the Zimbabwean government.
Sinoma is expected to inject an initial $20 million in the first phase of a three phased project in which production is expected to peak at 100 million bricks and tiles per year.
The plant will rely on quarry shell and coal ash for raw materials which are by-products of SZCC operations and is earmarking to export the bricks, some of which are used to line blast furnaces, into the region especially South Africa.