Cement production increases
Mehedy Amin is predicting some problems in the future, especially regarding cement prices. “The country imports most of its clinker from abroad and with the increasing value of the US$ against local currency, the price of cement is rocketing up along with most construction materials.”
In January 2012, Bangladesh’s Export Promotion Bureau released data confirming that cement exports had witnessed a 21% increase in the first seven months of the current fiscal year (July 2011 – January 2012). Abdul Khaleq Parvez, Vice President of the Bangladesh Cement Manufacturers Association, commenting on the export situation said: “The export market is growing slowly as the prices of local cement increased sharply following devaluation of the local currency. Cement prices have increased by at least US$17/t”. The prices rose because of the sudden rise in production costs, this being a consequence of power shortages and a rise in labour wages.
Shankar Kumar Roy, General Manager, Business Development, Holcim Bangladesh, told WORLD CEMENT that in 2011 there were 45 active cement companies in the country. “Cement demand was 14 million t, while capacity reached 24 million t and exports totalled 250 000 t”. It is said that cement production has boomed in Bangladesh since the late 1980s, with many cement plants springing up across the country.
Shun Shing Group International Ltd (SSGIL) has developed into a successful bulk commodity trading, shipping and investment company. A landmark investment took place in 2001 when it established a 0.5 million t cement grinding mill in Kaligoni in Bangladesh. By the end of 2012, SSGIL’s cement production will be 3.1 million t through increased capacity at the current site and a new plant in Khulna city, to cover the southwest market.
In January of this year, HeidelbergCement officially inaugurated a new cement mill at its plant at the seaport of Chittagong. The project involved the installation of a cement grinding mill with a capacity of 105 tph, and a slag dryer with a capacity of 45 tph. HeidelbergCement has been active in Bangladesh since 1998 and is one of the largest German investors in the country. In addition to the grinding plant at Chittagong, the Group operates another grinding plant in Dhaka.
Bashundhara Cement, part of the major Bashundhara Group, is currently building a 7000 tpd plant in Narayaganij. Meghna Cement, also part of the Bashundhara Group, together with Bashundhara Cement will jointly manufacture 13 500 tpd of cement, equating to 15 – 18% of cement demand in the country.
In July 2011, India’s Supreme Court granted permission for Lafarge Surma Cement to resume mining limestone in the East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya state in the country’s mineral-rich northeast. The limestone is transported from Meghalaya to Lafarge Umiam Mining Pvt Ltd by a 17 km conveyor belt, where it feeds the company’s cement plant at Chhatask in Bangladesh. In February 2010 the court halted Lafarge from extracting the limestone as it was mining in an environmentally sensitive zone. India’s environment ministry told the court in April that it had cleared the mining project with strict conditions. Up to then it was reported that Lafarge had been importing clinker from abroad. The original agreement between India and Bangladesh to permit the cross-border industrial project was signed in November 2000. It was financed by Lafarge, Cementos Molins, the IFC, the ADB, German Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the Netherlands Development Co.