Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bishal Cement starts commercial operation

Rupandehi-based Bishal Cement started commercial operations — after three weeks of trial production — from yesterday.
"The company that has an installed capacity of 400 tonnes of production daily, has provided direct employment to more than 150 people, including skilled and semi-skilled employees,” said executive director of Bishal Cement Jayandra Chudal.
The 11th cement factory in the Bhairahawa-Lumbini corridor, Bishal Cement is a Rs 500-million close-circuit plant that uses domestic clinker to produce cement but imports other raw materials like gypsum and fly ash from India, Pakistan and Bhutan.
The company has a capacity of producing 300 tonnes of Ordinary Portland
Cement (OPC) and some 400 tonnes of Precast Prestressed Concrete (PPC) daily. Portland cement is the most common type of cement used and it is a basic ingredient for concrete, mortar, stucco and most non-specialty grout.
"However, Bishal Cement will currently manufacture around 70 per cent PPC and 30 per cent OPC daily, and increase production according to market demand,” he said, adding that the company will double its production capacity in six months.
Lately, the construction boom — mainly due to housing and hydropower — in the country, has prompted industrialists to open cement factories. Due to the growing demand, the country has to import around 40 per cent cement to meet domestic market demand.
"The 29 already established big cement companies with an installed capacity of around 12,700 tonnes per day can supply only around 60 per cent of the demand," according to Chudal.
The Central Bureau of Statistics projected an increase in the contribution of the construction sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 2.97 per cent in the last fiscal year as compared to a year back.
However, cement factories have been operating at half their installed capacity due to the slowdown in the construction business and power crisis lately.
If all the companies that are under construction, come into operation the total cement production capacity will reach above 16,000 tonnes per day, excluding the factories that have 100 tonnes and less capacity," said Chudal.
Of the 29 cement companies, seven are mine-based, including the government-owned Hetauda Cement and Udayapur Cement, and others have Integrated Unit too.
Some new factories which are under construction are also mine-based that use limestone mines to produce clinker for cement. Due to more mine-based companies, the contribution of mines to the GDP is also predicted to increase by 5.03 per cent in the last fiscal year from a fiscal year ago.
Though the government had promised to accord higher priority to complete road construction and extension of electricity transmission lines to facilitate the establishment of cement companies, Arghakhanchi Cement's mine at Narpani was forced to close down for the past eight months leading to a shutdown of the cement factory that was established 12 years back with an investment of Rs 2.5 billion.

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