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Venezuela imports to rebuild after flooding

World Cement,

Venezuela is looking to import almost 7000 t of cement from Cuba to accelerate its building in the wake of weeks of fatal flooding. The country and neighbouring Colombia has suffered heavy rain causing floods and mudslides across many regions. In Venezuela, at least 32 people have died and almost 80 000 people have been left homeless after fleeing for their lives. Cement production has been badly affected. Many plants are experiencing reduced production capacity, with others shut down for repair works.

The construction industry and cement production was nationalised in April 2008 after President Hugo Chavez’s concerns that domestically produced cement, desperately needed for housing, was being exported for higher prices. The government purchased plants belonging to, among others, Lafarge, Cemex and Holcim, whose plants had total capacities of 1.5 million, 2.4 million and 2.4 million tpa, respectively. The affected companies were paid compensation for the takeover. This nationalisation slowed down the rate of cement production as exports fell. With supplies in the country running dangerous low after the rain and flooding, Venezuela is now looking to import from abroad to make up for the deficit.

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