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Sephaku’s Delmas plant on track for cement production next year

by Mark Allix, 03 December 2013, 14:32

SEPHAKU Cement, a newcomer to the Southern African cement market, says its milling plant near Delmas in Mpumalanga is 95% complete, is on budget and is on track for production early next year.

The facility will be launched ahead of the company’s Aganang cement-making plant in Lichtenburg, North West, which is scheduled to go on stream in May.

The two plants will add a total of about 2.5-million tonnes to South African cement output each year, giving Sephaku between 15% and 20% of the regional cement market.

This creates competition for existing large-scale cement producers PPC, Afrisam and Lafarge, and will bring South Africa’s total cement production capacity to about 18-million tonnes a year, well exceeding existing demand of about 14-million tonnes a year.

Sephaku Cement is an associate of JSE-listed Sephaku Holdings and is a 64%-held subsidiary of Nigeria’s Dangote Cement.

Dangote has invested more than R1.1bn in the venture, the largest investment in a South African enterprise by an African firm.

Sephaku said on Tuesday that cold commissioning milestones had been reached, including the starting of the mill motor, exhaust fan and mill separator.

“Clinker offloading is in full swing and in the stage of final setting optimisation,” said Heinrich de Beer, engineering project manager at Sephaku.

Clinker is lumps or nodules produced in a kiln by heating various clays and limestone, as part of the cement-making process.

Gypsum — a chalk or plaster also used in making cement — offloading had also been commissioned, while the packing plant is about to be hot commissioned with cement. Other machines had been cold and hot commissioned, the company said.

“Our first stack of pallets have been wrapped and the full sequential start-up and commissioning of the packing plant is on the cards for the next week,” Mr de Beer said.

Sephaku said its plants used the latest cement-making technology. This reduced power consumption and also improved general environmental control.

Supporting infrastructure, including roads and intersections, were to be finished this month, along with weigh bridges and Telkom communications installations.

Initial construction of the turnkey project started in late 2011. Buildings including administration and sales offices were ready for occupancy, the company said.

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Bodibeng Trading Proprietary Limited

Founded by Mr Gaopalelwe Olebogeng from the Verdwaal Village in the North West province who is the sole managing member of Bodibeng Trading Proprietary Limited. Mr Gaopalelwe has previous experience in plant cleaning that he acquired during his tenure as a plant cleaner at another cement company in Lichtenburg. Bodibeng Trading Proprietary Limited employs 36 employees from the local community and currently has a short-term contract with SepCem which includes mentorship to ensure that it effectively provides the plant cleaning services at Aganang.


Mancamane Trading Enterprise

Mancamane is a black female-owned enterprise that started operating in 2010 as a plant cleaning, construction and mining supply company. Ms Daisy Maseko, a renowned entrepreneur, founded the enterprise in the Delmas area, Mpumalanga province and currently employs 28 permanent staff. SepCem adopted Mancamane into the enterprise development programme in 2014. The company is currently supplying plant cleaning services to the Delmas grinding plant and has demonstrated the ability to grow sustainably.


MM&JK Cleaning Projects Proprietary Limited

In 2014, SepCem contracted the cleaning services of MM&JK Cleaning Projects, an enterprise established in 2013 by Mr Sipho Mazibuko from a village called Springbokpan in the North West province. SepCem identified MM&JK Cleaning Projects as a well-managed enterprise that is appropriately suited to benefit from the programme. In the case of MM&JK, SepCem has partnered with another major industrial organisation to mentor Sipho.

The partner’s role is to assist MM&JK Cleaning Projects with inproving its cleaning skills through training, providing cleaning equipment and required detergents. SepCem’s role is to develop Sipho’s business management skills including cost management, record keeping and negotiation. SepCem is assisting MM&JK to develop a marketing strategy to increase its customer base to reduce the single-customer dependency risk and ensure that the company is sustainable. MM&JK Cleaning Projects currently has a three-year contract with SepCem for general cleaning at Aganang and employs 14 permanent staff.



Millicent’s Enterprise

Millicent’s Enterprise is 100% black female-owned and was founded by Ms Millicent Mahlabe, an entrepreneur from Delmas in the Mpumalanga province. The company was selected for the programme because it has historically demonstrated the ability to supply large contracts but lacks administration skills. Millicent’s has a good reputation and positive track record of being able to cater for large provincial government events.

SepCem secured Millicent’s catering services in 2013 for its canteen at the Delmas plant that provides meals to 150 employees. Millicent’s currently has seven permanent employees and several contract employees who are sourced as and when required.