With East Africa’s rapid infrastructure development and booming real estate there has been a growing need for cement which is a vital component in these endeavours. ARM Cement, one of the region’s biggest cement manufacturer, has set out to meet this increasing demand for cement by setting up the country’s largest cement factory in Kitui County.
The company had been engaged in negotiations with Kitui’s county government over extraction of the huge deposits of limestone, which they have been prospecting for since 2009, in Ngaaie Location-Kyuso District. The area has a total coverage of 3,500 acres rich in limestone. With the proposal now set for adoption there is renewed hope for increased economic development in the mineral rich county.
ARM has been seeking up to 25.5 billion to fund new plants including the one to be set up in Kitui county that will have a production capacity of 8,000 tonnes of cement per day eclipsing the 5,500 tonnes per day capacity set for the planned Dangote plant. Construction is set to start in 2015 and should be complete within two years.
According to ARMâ€™s Managing Director Pradeep Paunrana, they project to offer 2,000 jobs directly and another 1,500 jobs indirectly to the local residents who will be given preference in recruitment.
About 250 households will be affected by the construction and the construction and the company has set out measures to ensure that they are well compensated. The company committed to setting aside 10 million per year in a trust fund that will be managed by the local community who will be free to choose what projects to undertake with the money. A team consisting of the communityâ€™s liaison committee, officials from county and national governments and ARM representatives negotiated and agreed an amount of Sh150,000 per acre to be paid to individual land owners in the proposed area to allow for limestone extraction. ARM also promised to sink boreholes and help the community put up schools and other social amenities in areas they will relocate to.
The successful construction of the Kitui plant will also be seen as a major boost for local companies. ARM founded 40 years ago has grown in leaps and bounds, from selling lime to farmers to diversifying into various ventures, with it leading as an example for companies who wish to grow in major players in the region.