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AshakaCem reveals why it is investing N11bn in 16MW coal-fired power plant

The Managing Director of Ashaka Cement Plc, a subsidiary of LafargeHolcim Group, Africa’s leading housing solutions provider, Rabiu Umar has opened up on why the company is currently investing well over N11bn in the generation of about 16 megawatt of electricity in Gombe, the host state.

In an interview with select media executives, he said “We are building a power plant to be able to generate our own electricity. Today, we are relying on generators as you know the cost of fuel whether LPG or diesel is very high and has a high correlation to foreign exchange”.

“We are building an N11bn project, a 16-megawatt coal-fired power plant to cater to our needs. That is one of the biggest plan that we have in terms of being able to reduce our costs because one of the biggest costs in cement production is the cost of energy.

Explaining more, Umar noted that “Inside the kiln, we have temperature running up to 1,400 degrees, which is up to the heat used for steel. You can imagine the kind of heat we are talking about here and to generate that kind of heat, we need fuel”.

“We are 1, 500km away from the coast of Nigeria and when there is a challenge of fuel, people can import but we are here in a landlocked place. So we must have a different source of energy. Again, there are gas pipelines but Gombe, Benue and Sokoto states do not have. Everyone else is linked. Gas is much cheaper but we don’t have a link to the pipeline. That’s why we need to find a solution.

Continuing, AshakaCem boss said “The second is to unlock some of the existing potential in terms of capacity. Over the years, you lose some efficiency and we are trying to gain back that efficiency”.

He was quick to reveal further that “depending on how things go, we intend to increase the capacity of the plant by building new capacity”.

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