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Increased domestic cement production to save $500mln a year

Gerald Flynn / Khmer Times Share:
The Thai Bunrong Cement Factory is expected to produce 2,500 tonnes per day or 1 million tonnes annually. KT/Khem Sovannara

Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of a new cement factory in Kampot yesterday morning, proclaiming that the Kingdom will no longer be reliant on imported cement.

The new Thai Bunrong Cement Factory will provide 335 Cambodian jobs, along with 35 positions for foreigners, and is expected to produce 2,500 tonnes per day or 1 million tonnes annually.

This, Mr Hun Sen noted, will be Cambodia’s fifth concrete factory and the fourth in Kampot, with Battambang housing the final one. The prime minister went on to state that Cambodia’s current demand for concrete – a crucial material across the construction sector – had risen to approximately 8 million tonnes per year.

Prime Minister Hun Sen during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new factory yesterday. KT/Khem Sovannara

Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem addressed the crowd assembled in Kampot, explaining that the $110 million investment in Thai Bunrong Cement Factory will help keep pace with the demand caused by Cambodia’s construction boom.

Unlike cement, steel cannot be produced locally and so the import of steel can be seen as an indicator of growth within the construction sector.

According to the World Bank, steel imports were up 63.5 percent in the first nine months of 2019 compared with the same period last year. From 2017 to 2018, imports of steel grew by just 27.7 percent.

Similarly, the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction announced that investments in construction had shot up to $3 billion by the end of the second quarter of this year, compared with $2.1 billion during the same period in 2018.

Prime minister Hun Sen cut ribbon at the inauguration of $110 million cement factory in Kampot province

“It’s the fifth cement plant in Cambodia, bringing the total cement production capacity in the Kingdom to about 8 million tonnes per year,” said Prime Minister Hun Sen, explaining that through increased domestic production, Cambodia will save roughly $500 million on importing cement from other countries.

In 2017, imports of cement were estimated at 1.19 million tonnes valued around $85 million, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The long-serving ruler of Cambodia went on to predict that the demand for cement in the local market will likely increase as there are plans afoot to use the material to develop roads and bridges, as opposed to using rubber. This, coupled with Cambodia’s bustling construction sector, has given the government good reason to further expand the capacity of the existing five factories nationwide.

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