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Partnering for sustainable development in Rwanda: part two

World Cement,

The CIMERWA plant: details and technical specifications

Construction of the CIMERWA facility began in October 2013 and, by July 2015, the plant was already commissioned and the first cement sold commercially. The total investment in the project will approximate US$170 million: a strong vote of confidence in Rwanda, its government and economy.

Through its hands-on responsive approach to managing its investment, PPC was able to ensure that the plant opened as a commercially operational facility within three years and within budget. These are significant results to have achieved in a foreign country working within a broad partnership base, including having a foreign contractor responsible for construction. To this end, a key learning from this project throughout was ensuring clear lines of communication – which was achieved at Bugarama despite working across multiple language barriers whilst being mindful of cultural nuances.

Adding to local complexities was the fact that the plant is located in the earthquake zone of the Rift Valley. It has thus been designed to withstand disturbances of magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale and, shortly before publication of this article, experienced a magnitude 5.6 quake with zero damage or disruption to the facility.

The plant itself has been built to be state-of-the-art, utilising a five-stage precalciner kiln with grate cooler. Particulate emission is designed at =50 mg/Nm3 and the facility has successfully passed all requisite testing in line with global best practice.

Significantly, alternative energy sources are planned for later this year and CIMERWA will, in the near future, derive most of its thermal energy requirements from alternatives such as peat.

From a specification perspective, the rotary kiln is 54 m in length, 3.5 m in diameter, and has a capacity of up to 62.5 tph. The total capacity of the clinker silos is 13 600 t, with the cement storage silos offering 24 000 t capacity. The packers and stern-loading facilities are able to process up to 200 tph. As previously noted, the facility is already operational and will reach its 600 000 tpy output over the next three years.

The new 600 000 tpy plant was supplied on a turnkey basis by China National Aero-Technology International Engineering Corporation Limited, with mechanical and electrical equipment supplied and erected by Jiangsu Pengfei. CIMERWA’s engineering and management representatives are Holtec of India.

Sustainable means of extending the life of the limestone reserve to match that of the new facility (typically 30 years) are already being considered through the evaluation of limestone reserves in proximity to the plant as well as alternative operational methods. In addition, the original buildings of the decommissioned plant have been repurposed into administrative offices at the site thus extending their useful life.

CIMERWA offers a product portfolio that includes both 32.5 class cement for general purpose work, as well as 42.5 class cement for use in major construction. In order to meet the anticipated demand for these lines across a broad range of clients, the facility has been designed to meet bulk orders.

Beyond the impressive technology employed in its construction and powering its production line, CIMERWA offers its customers still greater value through its provision of comprehensive after-sales support. This enables relationship-building with clients with a view to the long term.

Sustainability through partnership

The definition of ‘sustainability’ which PPC is committed to and takes care to realise, is holistic and embraces the entire operational framework of any project. This ensures mindful investment that meets both expectations and legacy responsibilities.

A factor ensuring the overall sustainability and value of any PPC project is consequently appropriate, mutually-beneficial partnership. CIMERWA is the ideal example of this type of intensive, committed collaboration between all stakeholders: PPC, the Rwandan government, the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Rwanda Investment Group (RIG), other shareholders, the Bank of Kigali, KCB Bank of Rwanda, the Eastern and Southern African Trade Development Bank, and the other members of the funding consortium.

The plant additionally represents much needed social investment. An extensive skills transfer programme is already underway to ensure critical skills sets are developed in the local team across a range of functions including specialised engineering, logistics and environmental management. Once the skills transfer process is complete, over 95% of the total workforce employed at the new facility will be local.

Increased activity at the new plant will also stimulate growth in the immediate local economy of Bugarama, including the procurement of support services such as transport, catering and cleaning. In terms of transport, a combination of contracted and ad hoc vehicles will be used for the delivery of cement to customers – and is being seen as an opportunity to capacitate the Rwandan transport industry.

Through these various processes and partnerships, PPC has succeeded in creating a foundation for meaningful sustainability that enables Rwanda’s workforce and the local community to benefit from CIMERWA’s progress: ensuring people acquire critical skills so as to drive their own prosperity, and to enjoy that prosperity themselves.

This is part two of a three-part article written for World Cement’s December issue and abridged for the website. Subscribers can read the full issue by signing in, and can also catch up on-the-go via our new app for Apple and Android. Non-subscribers can access a preview of the December 2015 issue here.

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