Cahaya Mata Sarawak to invest in grinding plant

Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS) is investing RM150mil in a new grinding plant to boost its cement production to meet growing demand.

Group managing director Datuk Richard Curtis said the tender for the proposed new plant to be sited next to the group’s clinker plant in Mambong near here would be called soon.

“Fast track construction of the plant is expected to start end of the year and it will commence production in late 2015.

“The plant will give us an additional one million tonnes per annum,” he told StarBiz after the company AGM yesterday.

CMS, which is Sarawak’s sole cement and clinker manufacturer, now owns and operates plants in Pending here and Bintulu to produce portland cement and cemplast masonry cement for the state. The two plants have a combined annual production capacity of 1.75 million tonnes.

Curtis said the plants were currently operating nearly at full capacity, adding that CMS was expected to import between 1,000 tonnes and 2,000 tonnes of cement from Peninsula Malaysia and Vietnam this year to meet this year’s demand.

“By 2016, Sarawak’s cement demand is expected to grow in excess of two million tonnes per annum from the current 1.7 million tonnes.”

He said the growth in cement demand was spurred mainly by the implementation of big projects in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) and construction of hydroelectric dams.

Manufacturing facilities for more energy-intensive industries are expected to be built in Samalaju Industrial Park, Bintulu while Sarawak has plans to build a dozen hydroelectric dams to power the mega industries and export to Brunei, Sabah and west Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The 2,400MW Bakun hydro dam, the first major dam, is now operational while the proposed 944MW Murum hydro dam upstream of Bakun dam is 80% complete.

Curtis said CMS was expected to invest another RM50mil in three years to upgrade jetties and on cranes to enhance the logistics capability in cement handling.

CMS has to-date invested some RM55mil to upgrade its cement distribution capabilities across Sarawak, which include 6,000-tonne flat store cement terminals equiped with packing and bulk cement distribution facilities in Sibu and Miri and bulk cement loading and unloading facilities at the Pending plant.

These terminals, according to Curtis, were among the first in Asia to utilise innovative aeration panel, fluidised transfer and pneumatic conveying technologies from Europe.

This innovation enables the Pending plant to import bulk cement in the event of an emergency as well as ship out bulk cement to the Sibu and Miri terminals using two purpose-built 7,000-tonne barges on a continuous basis.

Curtis said about RM78mil had been invested in CMS’ clinker plant to raise its production capacity by 10% to 900,000 tonnes per annum.

(Source: thestar online – Business)

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