A US$3 million gypsum manufacturing plant is being constructed by Kemcore Zambia Limited (KZL), an international company based in Ndola
The plant, expected to be commissioned in December, is envisaged to be producing 10,800 tonnes of gypsum per month which will be supplied to local cement manufacturing companies, some of which are domiciled in Ndola
Once fully operational, the gypsum factory will create about 400 direct and indirect jobs.
Gypsum is a key ingredient in the manufacturing of cement and is also used for making ceiling boards, plaster of Paris (POP) and chalk.
Company General Manager Joy Simwaba said the production of the commodity is aimed at making it readily available for use by cement manufacturing companies.
Mr Simwaba said in an interview yesterday that the production of gypsum locally is further expected to help reduce cement prices, which are averaging K130 per 50 kilogramme bag.
The plant could have opened earlier but has delayed due to challenges in the supply chain and delivery of equipment.
“We have had delays in the delivery of some key equipment partly because of the lockdowns in countries at the height of COVID-19 earlier and now some ships are stuck in the China Taiwan straits for some unknown reasons,” Mr Simwaba said.
The firm will be sourcing key raw materials such as sulphuric acid from copper mining companies while limestone will be sourced from within Ndola, which has some of the best deposits in the world in millions of tonnes.
Sulphuric acid is a by-product from the production of copper in smelters.
Mr Simwaba said Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has approved the environmental permit, adding that this is evidence that the plant will be operating in an environmentally friendly manner without negative impact on the environment.
He said all the equipment at the plant is being installed by local contractors, who won the tenders which some foreign companies competed for too.
Mr Simwaba commended the new dawn administration for providing a conducive environment for conducting business in the country, adding that Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga recently toured the construction site of the plant and pledged Government’s support