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Sh14 billion Pokot cement project to kick off next week

BUSINESS
By | May 12th 2010

By STANDARD REPORTER

After 156 meetings and 462 letters, a much-touted Sh14 billion cement project in Pokot will finally take off on May 21, when Prime Minister Raila Odinga breaks ground for construction of the factory.

The project by the Cemtech Sanghi Group will include a 64 megawatts (MW) power plant, from which 50MW will be sold to Kenya Power and Lighting Company, said Group Director Rajesh Kumar Rawal, Tuesday.

Chairman Ravi Sanghi said the factory would use the latest and most environmentally friendly technology from Fuller USA.

The project includes staff houses, schools, medical and staff training centres and will provide much needed water to the community, said Mr Rawal.

Dr Munyao, the group’s consultant, said discussions are ongoing with the Ministry of Energy on a 25-year power purchase agreement.

The Sanghi group of India is a leading conglomerate with investments in cement, textile, infrastructure development, paper, publishing, mining, steel and power generation, among others. It owns and manages the world’s largest single stream cement plants with the total production capacity exceeding over 400 million bags annually.

A top team from the group visited Kenya in January this year and included the chairman, directors, general manager Exim, financiers and legal consultants.

Government backing

They met Raila and other key government officials and also visited the site of the factory, a 650-acre land where they met residents and local leaders.

Raila also visited the site on November 9 last year, and promised government backing for the project.

Last year, the company successfully fought off attempts by a rival firm to have its licences withdrawn. Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey and PS John Lonyangapuo also came out strongly in defence of Sanghi, noting that it had received all the necessary licences and approvals to mine limestone in the area.

The company had to obtain a host of licences, including an Environmental Impact Assessment approval from Nema (National Environmental Management Authority), certificates from the Kenya Investment Authority, and a mining agreement with the County Council of Pokot. The council is the only authority under Cap 306 of the Mining Act and Cap 265 of the Physical Planning Act empowered to grant mining concessions within the district.

The firm will mine limestone deposits in Pusel, Chepchoi, Sebit, Ortum, Tamkal, Iyang River, Endough, Kiwawa, Alele, Lokinyala and Marich among others.

The 650 acres of freehold land was bought from 200 private owners for a total cost of Sh120 million, including compensation.

Rawal said the company plans to give priority to local companies when awarding contracts and jobs, and has already received 1,500 applications for employment.

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