Namibia’s only cement factory lives up to its promise
Namibia’s first ever cement plant has been in business for three years, helping to end Namibia’s reliance on imported cement and even mature into a cement net-exporting country.
Situated near Otavi, some 435 km north of the capital Windhoek, the Ohorongo facility has certainly made good strides in its mission to become the cement supplier of choice for the construction industry. Opened in 2011, the facility set up by Schwenk Zement KG, a German family-run business with over 160 years’ experience, has been credited with operating the most technologically advanced plant of its kind in Africa. It was awarded several prizes including ‘Best Foreign Investment’ by the Namibian Government in 2011, and “Manufacturer of the Year Award for 2013” by the Namibia Manufacturers Association.
Compared to typical cement plants, Ohorongo uses approximately 30% less electrical power at 18 MWh per day for the raw mill and approximately 2.5 MWh per day for its coal mill.
Boosting the local economyOhorongo helped to end Namibia’s reliance on imported cement from South Africa and also proved capable of producing in excess of 700 000 tons per annum, allowing for export to neighbouring countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Zambia and Southern Angola. This is beneficial to the country’s balance of payments and serves as an example for other Namibian manufacturers to venture into foreign markets.
Directly employing 332 people, the company has served as a major employer in the Otjozondjupa Region, particularly at the plant. It has for instance brought about a number of spin-offs, including the erection of a concrete sleeper factory in Tsumeb, only five months after the main one commenced operations.
Services introduced by the company, including a canteen, security and a laundry, as well as the transport of employees, raw material and cement, have created additional employment through outsourcing. “It has been calculated that through Ohorongo’s operation more than 2 100 jobs have been created and the Namibian GDP has risen by at least 1%,” says Hans-Wilhelm Schuette, Managing Director of Ohorongo Cement.