• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Sino-Zim cement plant back online


Nov 25, 2023

By ETimes

Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (Sino-Zim) powered its newly refurbished plant during the week as it came back online after 3 months of no production.

The plant upgrade helped worsen a cement shortage in the market as a result of other plants not being online for different reasons, but the problem has already been rectified.

During the period of the plant upgrade at Sino-Zim, the market saw cement prices soar by 133 percent on average to US$21.00 per bag.

According to a company official since the takeover, the Chinese investor who now owns Sino-Zim was mulling a plant upgrade way back but was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“China National Building Material Company (CNBM) planned for plant upgrades in 2019 but they were postponed due to an increase in the demand for cement and the incoming of the pandemic. We started the plant upgrade on September 21, 2023, and we got back online on November 20, 2023,” the official added.

Speaking of the refurbishment and upgrades she said, “Sino-Zim changed the preheating tower system completely and installed new ones with a great capacity as well as the kiln shell discharge end and replaced it with a new shell.”

The cement producer’s previous capacity was 700 tonnes of clinker per day, and they are now targeting to achieve 1200 tonnes per day of clinker, which is a massive upgrade.

“We completely changed the coal mill with a new high capacity mill but I am not quite sure of the new tonnage. As a company we also replaced an electrostatic precipitator with a dust collector, this is for dust abatement measures and trying to adhere to our sustainability goals as a company,” she added.

“In addition, we changed our control system from Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) to the Distributed Control System DCS.”

According to systems analysts, DCS is process oriented, process state driven is preferred for applications that are spread over a wide geographic location while SCADA is data acquisition oriented and is limited in compatibility with third parties.

Engineer Takani Mataranyika applauded Sino-Zim for transitioning from an individualist software to a process-oriented software in DCS.

“The change in system is impressive as the new one is a world standard process monitor, which makes it easier to monitor quality, monitor the process and easily identify where a problem is. It also improves quality of the product as it can identify where a shortage or oversupply is,” the engineer said.

Economic analyst Namatai Maeresera believes such periodic investments are needed as the country continues to grow.

“For efficient use of resources such as limestone, these upgrades are really needed and they push the economy further as it grows because we substitute imports through local production. If we look at the increase in volumes here, they seem small but in terms of the construction industry they mean a lot,” he said.

Cement consumption jumped from a million tonnes in 2017 to 1,6 million tonnes currently due to huge government infrastructure projects, according to the country’s biggest producer, PPC Cement.

“Local cement companies have a capacity of 2,6 million tonnes of cement, which should meet current demand. However, production problems mainly due to breakdowns have caused the companies to fail to meet demand of the required amount,” added economist Tinevimbo Shava.

Sino-Zim was established in 1999 through a joint venture between the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and a Chinese investor, CNBM before the latter bought out the former in 2019 – Harare

By ETimes

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