The shift from imported to locally produced cement is gaining momentum, with Max Myanmar Manufacturing Company opening a plant near Nay Pyi Taw on March 19 that can produce up to 500 tonnes a day.
The factory is situated near Taung Phila limestone deposit in Mandalay Division’s Lewe township. It is about 15 kilometres west of Nay Pyi Taw, the construction of which has pushed cement demand to an estimated 4.8 million tonnes a year, about half of which is produced locally.
U Zaw Zaw, the chairman of Max Myanmar Group of Companies, said at the opening ceremony the factory was set up to reduce dependence on imported cement, which mostly comes from Thailand.
He said the quality of the factory’s cement was comparable to imported brands.
According to Max Myanmar, the construction costs were K4.4 billion (about US$4.4 million). Construction began in June 2009 and a test run was undertaken in November. The machinery for the factory was imported from China.
U Zaw Zaw said the factory is running at full capacity but the company hopes to expand production in the future.
The opening comes a month after the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) opened a 500-tonne-a-day ement factory at Pyin Naung in Mandalay Division’s Thazi township.
Another private company, KBZ Development Company, plans to build a 1000-tonne-a-day cement plant in southern Shan State. No completion date has been set. Similarly, Asia World and Htoo Trading have also been granted permission to construct cement factories.
At the end of 2009, there were 10 government and three private cement factories in Myanmar, according to Xinhua. These factories produced about 2.4 million tonnes of cement annually but actual demand is estimated to be about double that figure. State-run factories produced almost 670,000 tonnes in 2009, official figures show.
When the private cement plants currently slated for construction are completed, local production capacity should be somewhere in the vicinity of 4.5 million tonnes and close to overall demand.
Max Myanmar Group of Companies was originally established as Max Myanmar Co, Ltd in 1993. The group is now comprised of six independent enterprises, which operate in the trading, construction, hotel and tourism, manufacturing, services and gems and jewellery sectors, according to the company’s website.