Lafarge Africa boosts cement output in Nigeria

By Eme Offiong, Calabar

Lafarge Africa has doubled cement production from two point five million tons a year to five million tons with the completion of an additional plant.

Lafarge, formerly known as the United Cement Company, UniCem, is at Mfamosing, Akamkpa Local Government Area in Cross River State, southern Nigeria.

Job opportunities
The Plant Manager of Lafarge Africa, Mfamosing, Mr. Thierry Terriere, told some journalists during a tour of the new facility that when completed three thousand additional job opportunities would be available in Cross River State. The new facility is also referred to as Line 2’.

 “We double the capacity of our plant here. This will give us greater volume of cement and we intend for Cross River State to benefit from our plant through auxiliary employment like drivers, mechanics, and many other areas because we will have fuel station in here and more.

“Our aim is to empower the communities, Cross River and Nigeria. We are talking about Three thousand people working directly in our company. It is a unique opportunity to develop small businesses as our bigger plant will create employment and enable people provide for their families,” Terriere explained.

Environment protection
The Environment Manager, John Nya said that safety and protection of the environment were of priority concern to the company.

 “Our Line 1 and 2 plants are environmentally friendly. The technology is modern and we conduct regular test to avoid degradation and any form of pollution or contamination. Before we started construction of Line 2, we did an impact assessment and undertake constant impact mitigation monitoring.

“We have also been working closely with Nigeria’s ministry of Environment, the State and community. Lafarge Africa is a member of LafargeHolcim, an international organization. We are guided strictly by international laws and conventions and that is the good thing about Line 2 technology. It is advanced and assures the best environmental control,” Nya stated.

According to the State’s Relations Manager, Mr. Inyang Bassey the company engages its host communities, which cut across three council areas, on health talks; provides free medical care including surgeries and intervenes in primary and post primary education system. It also partners with professional agencies to revamp oil palm and cassava mills including given tips on best agricultural practices.

Line 2 construction
The Site Manager, Aidan Wynne said that the construction of Line 2 took 3 years and gulped 427 Million US Dollars, noting that “the plant would be ready for production next month.”

Wynne added that the construction of the cement line was undertaken by a Chinese firm known as SINORIA Company Limited while the captive power plant extension involved WARTSILA of Finland.

Line 1 of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mfamosing Plant previously UniCem was constructed in 2002 with a capacity of 2.5 million tons per annum.

Mercy Chukwudiebere