Messebo Cement Factory is to supply Low-Heat High-Sulfate Resistant Cement (a new special cement ideal for large projects)
it has begun producing locally for the construction of the Gilgel Gibe III Dam and the Great Renaissance Dam (GRD). The company has marketed Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) which it also produces, three months ago.
This special cement is used for huge projects such as dams because of its unique characteristics of being crack-resistant. The thickness of the Renaissance Dam is 240 meters, said Kibreab Tewolde, the Promotions Officer at the company. The special cement needed to construct such project used to be imported from abroad with hard currency, and is very costly.
Salini Construttori, the company undertaking the construction of Gibe III, agreed to use the product for the project. The approval came after Salini took 170,000 quintals of the product for trials and tested it in laboratories, both here in Ethiopia and abroad including in Italy, Germany, Canada and America, for the last three months.
According to Kibreab, Messebo is due to supply 30,000 tonnes of the special cement for the construction of Gilgel Gibe III in a month’s time. As the same contractor is commissioned for the GRD project, being built in the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional state, officials at Messebo are hopeful to supply the product for that project soon. “We hope to start supplying the cement for the Great Renaissance Dam project within three months,” Kibreab said.
Messebo sells the unpacked cement for 282 birr per quintal to Salini. Packaging will add another 18 birr to the cost, Capital learnt.
At a ceremony held on Dec. 27, 2012 at the Hilton Addis, Messebo officially launched Portland Limestone Cement (PLC) which it had first introduced at the Seventh Ethio-Con International Construction Exhibition held at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center and Marketing Development Enterprise. Messebo already produces Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Pozollana Portland Cement (PPC).
The cost of producing PLC is much less than the other types as the company extracts the limestone, which constitutes 25 percent of PLC cement, from a quarry situated close to the plant and the ingredients of the product require lower heat to burn which also reduces the cost of coal. Limestone comprises only 3 percent of OPC while PPC has even less limestone in its makeup. As a result PLC is whiter than the other two kinds of cement Messebo produces, which are greyish in colour.
Messebo has marketed this product, mainly used for finishing and plastering, three months ago. It is being widely introduced in the Amhara and Tigray Regional states so far, according to Mussie Hagos, Research and Development (R&D) Head at Messebo.
Use of PLC, which is sold for 130 birr per quintal at the factory, is new only to Ethiopia as the World has been using it for about 30 years, according to Mussie. Messebo, therefore, pioneered the introduction of the product here in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has authorized seven types of cements from a variety produced around the World of which Messebo is producing four, including the two new products, and aspiring to produce the rest in the near future, according to Getachew Seyoum, Deputy General Manager of Messebo.
The country is believed to have high-grade limestone in abundant quantities, according to Getachew.
Messebo Cement Factory, which was established in 2001 and has its plant in Mekele, the capital of Tigray Regional state, located 780 km north of Addis Ababa, has stopped using furnace oil, which it used to import, a while back and replaced it with 80 percent of Dilbi Coal, and 20 percent of pet coal, which is a by-product of petroleum, imported from Sudan. This enabled the company to offer a cheaper price for its products. Dilbi Coal is produced by Ethio-Pak Coal Mining in Dilbi, near Jimma, which is 415 km from Addis.
Messebo, which is one of the biggest suppliers of cement next to Mugher Cement Factory, has expanded using three billion birr, the money being partially obtained from the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE). The expansion was undertaken by Hance Cement Research and Design Institute, a Chinese company. The company has a capacity of producing 5,500 tonnes of clinker, (a material made by heating ground limestone with clay) up from the previous 2,000 tonnes.