By Munashe Matambo
Listed cement producer Lafarge Zimbabwe is looking to expand its operations as it is set to commence exploration drilling for lime within the next two months. It already has two mining operations where limestone is extracted at Mbubu in Mashonaland East Province and Sternblick quarry in Harare.
The company told the Herald Business that “exploration drilling is anticipated to commence in April 2018”. This comes as its environmental impact assessment for limestone exploration drilling in Pfura Rural District was approved. The company has contracted Bumira Environmental Consultants to perform the environmental assessment.
“Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe is conducting exploration drilling, which is the process of extracting rock samples in cylindrical prisms from the subsurface using specialised drilling machines.
“The samples are analysed to assess the quality and quantity of a mineral deposit of interest, which in this case is limestone. Exploration drilling is a preliminary step. There are several processes to be completed before a decision can be made,” the company added.
Lafarge produces a range of products that include agricultural lime, lime-based paints, tile-coat and Impermo. Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe is one the leading cement and allied products producers in Zimbabwe. The now Swiss head-quartered company was established in the country in 1956 first as Salisbury Portland Cement then owned by the United Kingdom based Associated Portland and Manufacturers Association.
It was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 1980, and subsequently changed its name to Circle Cement in 1982 in line with the change in the holding company name to Blue Circle Industries Plc. Circle Cement officially changed its name to Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe in 2007 and relisted on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
It has already made tremendous change to the country’s industry. Chief among them are landmark construction projects in the country at Kariba Dam and Cahora Bassa Dam. Remarkable growth has been recorded and with an installed plant capacity of 500 000 tonnes per annum continued growth is expected.