By Jude Njoku
Dangote Cement Plc has begun the test run of its six million metric tonnes per annum cement plant at Ibese, near the Polytechnic town of Ilaro in Ogun State, preparatory to the commencement of cement production in August. The 620 million US dollar plant (about 99.200 billion) is said to have attained over 80 percent completion level.
These facts were disclosed by the Deputy Director, Sinoma International Engineering Co. Ltd, the Chinese construction firm handling the project, Dr. Ved Prakash Sarkari and a Manger in the Projects department, Engr Bolu Aladeniyi when they conducted newsmen round the expansive complex last week. Dr Sarkari stated that when the plant rolls out the first batch of ordinary Portland cement OPC, in August, it will reduce the price of the product by at least 15 percent in the open market.
He however decried the high cost of energy in the country, noting that the increase in the price of diesel from N155 per litre to N180 is being borne by manufacturers.
Engr Aladeniyi disclosed that all the raw materials required to flag off the production of cement -limestone, shale and red soil, barring gypsum, are readily available at the company’s Ibese Mines. The mines has an estimated reserve of 760 million tonnes of limestone which is expected to last for the next 105 years.
The conveyors which are currently being test-run without loads will transport materials from the crusher location to the cement plant located about two kilometres away.
Ibese cement plant which has two production lines, will be powered by three turbines being built by the company. Each of the turbines being installed by Messrs Siemens of Germany, will generate 37 megawatts of electricity.
Engr Aladeniyi explained that the Ibese plant can also operate with coal, natural gas and HFO. The kiln, two storage houses for limestone, six silos each with a capacity of 10,000 metric tonnes as well as mine fields and other local raw materials needed for cement production are also ready, awaiting the take-off of actual production in the next two months.
The gas powered plant which is serviced from Itori Gas Plant, 24 kilometres from Ibese (to supply power to the cement plant) is equally ready.
Flaunting the uniqueness of the plant, Aladeniyi declared: “The equipment we are using at Ibese Cement plant is the latest in cement production anywhere in the world, in terms of modern technology. The equipments were bought from the best manufacturers in the world”.
He outlined other special features of the new plant which will use the dry process method of cement production. “The gamma matrix on-line analyser (an equipment) is used to control the quality of incoming raw materials from mines automatically and corrects the mix-up to 99 percent at crusher itself.
Also, the Robo lab ensures that there is no manual intervention. It guarantees auto sampling and testing. By using the latest proven technologies, we can achieve a pollution free environment,” he said.
Continuing, Engr Aladeniyi said “we have 18 loading bays and 15 parkers (parking machines). You can position 18 trucks at the same time to load. Our auto bag placer is a proven design to achieve a better, faster way of stacking accurate quantity and faster 18 automatic bag placers,” he said.
Also bemoaning the high cost of energy, Engr Aladeniyi explained that the company uses about 56,000 litres of diesel a day to test run the plant. “If we are using the turbines, one of them can consume three tanker loads of diesel a day,” he said. He urged the government to crash the price of energy as this will reduce the cost of cement in the country.
According to him, the company didn’t build independent power plants in other countries where it has invested in cement production because power is readily available.