DANGOTE cement plant in Mtwara Region is closed for routine maintenance, as it prepares to use gas turbines, the management of the factory has said.
The Head of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications of Dangote Cement Industries, Carl Franklin, told the ‘Daily News’ that the plant was closed for routine maintenance of its kiln.
“It is closed for scheduled maintenance. The kiln is being relined (this happens twice a year) and that usually takes 12-14 days, during which time we conduct other maintenance,” he said in an email after he was asked to clarify on the reports circulating in social media that the cement plant was shut down after disagreement with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) on the use of gas.
There were widespread rumours that the 600-million US dollar (about 1.3 trillion/-) plant and the largest cement investment in East Africa had suspended its operations due to high costs associated with the use of diesel fired turbines.
Mr Franklin said the plant which runs on expensive diesel generators was currently installing gas turbines to be fed with natural gas after reaching agreement with the TPDC on the gas price. “As to the energy costs, we have been using temporary diesel generators to power the plant and this has a high cost. We are replacing them with gas turbines this month and that will stem these losses.
If you look through previous results statements in 2017, you will see we have described this problem several times quite openly.” TPDC had issued a statement on Monday last week calling on the ‘wananchi’ to ignore rumours that went viral on the social media that the cement plant had closed operations after failing to agree on gas price.
“TPDC would like to inform the wananchi that it has implemented agreements including the price of natural gas and construction of infrastructure to supply the energy to the cement manufacturing plant,” a statement issued by communication unit partly reads. “For the time being, the Dangote Cement continues with installation of gas fired turbines. This work is expected to be completed next month.”