(Business in Cameroon) - Chinese company Yousheng Cement Co Ltd is currently finetuning the establishment of a new cement plant inside the port area in Douala. The information was disclosed by Nana Aboubakar Djalloh, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Environment, in a release inviting the population to the public sittings, on August 30-September 4, 2021, at the Joss II Government Primary School in Douala, in the framework of the project’s environmental impact assessment.
This plant will be the seventh of its kind installed in Cameroon and it will make the country a cement-producing hub in the Central African sub-region. Indeed, according to credible sources, the construction works for the sixth plant will soon be launched at the Kribi deep seaport’s industrial zone.
The new plants will boost competition in the local cement market currently animated by five operators: Cimencam (2.2 million tons production capacity), Dangote Cement (1.5 million tons), Eren Holding through Medcem Cameroun (600,000 tons), Cimaf (500,000 tons but currently being extended), and Mira Company (1 million tons).
Four of the operators entered the Cameroonian market in 2015, ending 48 years of monopolistic control exercised by CIMENCAM. Their entrance however did not have a significant impact on the price of cement. Despite the multiplication of the offers, the prices were only reduced from XAF5,000 to XAF4,500 and sometimes to XAF4,600. Those prices stayed at that level for a while but months ago, they rose to XAF5,000 allegedly because of rising transport costs and an increase in the international prices of clinker since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
During a meeting at the Ministry of Commerce in October 2015, producers were openly accused of price collusion. The accused rejected the accusations blaming the price hike on the unavailability of clinker in the country. At the time, internal sources revealed that to somehow address the issue of clinker unavailability, Dangote Cement decided to exploit the Mintom limestone deposit to produce clinker and substantially reduce cement retail prices in the local market.
However, this project was delayed because 70% of the said deposit, whose potential was estimated (by the IRGM) at 540 million metric cubes, was flooded by water from the Dja River.
Brice R. Mbodiam