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Gas shortages force Dangote towards coal

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World Cement,

Nigeria's Dangote Cement has turned to locally-mined coal to power its plants in a bid to end disruptions caused by gas shortages and lower its production costs.

Dangote announced that they would use 12 000 t of coal each day.

Dangote's move is unusual in an era when power generation is shifting away from coal. Coal used to generate US power dropped in April to its lowest monthly level since 1978.

Natural gas, meanwhile, surpassed coal as the US’ top fuel source for the third month in a row.

Gas shortages have plagued the West African nation however, with militants in the Niger Delta regularly disrupting Nigeria's oil and gas production.

Dangote has an annual production capacity of 43.6 million t and targets output of between 74 million and 77 million t by the end of 2019 and 100 million t of capacity by 2020.

The company has invested more than US$5 billion to expand outside its home market in the past few years.

Dangote said Nigeria has become a cement exporter generating US$1.25 billion of sales as against annual imports of US$2.5 billion which the country would have spent before the sector was liberalised in 2002.

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