The largest cement factory in the country, Derba-MIDROC Cement Plc, will begin test production within a week. The state-of-the-art cement factory has a capacity to produce 8,000tns of cement per day.
“The factory which is currently 100 percent complete has gone through individual unit testing so far. After 10 days it will go totally operational for commissioning,” said Tadesse Kebede, Project Director of Derba.
Machines for the factory which has the potential to produce 2.5 to 2.7 million tons of cement were imported from Germany and France while installation is being carried out by a Chinese company, China National Building Material.
According to the project director the factory’s dust emission is 25 milligrams. The factory is also energy efficient as it can be powered with recycled paper and bio fuel in addition to the traditional source of energy for cement factory coal, heavy fuel and electricity.
A 52 year old Indian consultant, Bedri Vencatesh who has spent almost half of his life in project consulting, has no doubt that the factory is a state of the art engineering piece.
“It is the latest in the globe. From crushing machine to the mills, from computer assisted control center to laboratory, the factory is equipped with the latest technology of our time,” argued Bedri, the Deputy General Manager of Holtech Consulting; an Indian consulting firm.
The project secured all in all 200 million dollars loan out of which, 55 million dollars is from the African Development Bank, 45 million dollars from the European Investment Bank, 55 million dollars from the International Financial Cooperation and 45 million dollars from the Development Bank of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian born Saudi billionaire, Sheik Mohammed Ali al-Amoudi, owner of MIDROC and several other companies, contributed 151 million dollars.
Meanwhile, Haile Assegide MIDROC Executive Director for Major Investment Projects said Derba has sold out carbon credit policy that is expected to generate four to five million Euros annually.
Though it was originally planned as a 351 million dollar project, the cement project has now consumed close to 600 million dollars after creating three more companies under its umbrella. These three companies are Maya PP Bag Factory, Derba Lime and Chemical factory and Derba Transport. The finances required for the three sister companies came from the pocket of the owner, Mohammed al-Amoudi.
According to Haile Assegide the factory will create more than 20 thousand job opportunities when it is producing at full capacity.
The project site is located about 125 kilometers to the North West of Addis Ababa in Oromia Regional State. It is one of the most abundantly gifted sites in Ethiopian limestone followed by Dire Dawa and Mekelle.
Derba-MIDROC Cement has built its own substation and transmission grid all the way from Inchini to the factory which is 50 kilometers, at a cost of 250 million birr. The 51 mega watt power the factory’s needs from Ethiopian Electric Power Cooperation have not yet been released due to undergoing negotiation which required the company to deposit 10 million birr for sharing the cost of a substation at Inchini.
“The most tiring challenge we have faced during implementing this project is paving the road network in rugged terrain. This is more tedious work than erecting the factory unit itself. If that was not challenging enough all parts of the factory had to be transported from Djibouti to the project site. the creditors gave money step by step so we had to be careful. Now we are at the verge of commissioning,” the project director told Capital.