CEMENT: Big business

07 July 2006
According to statistics from UK consultant Sustainable Business Services, the six GCC countries are now among the world's top 10 cement consumers. More than 50 million tonnes of new capacity is already planned in the region, although these estimates are likely to be conservative. Saudi Arabia alone is gearing up to issue nearly 50 new licences, almost double the amount it planned two years ago.

The ocean of liquidity stemming from the Gulf has also begun to trickle through to countries across the region. An increasing number of capacity expansions and greenfield plants have been unveiled from Algeria down to Yemen. MEED estimates that more than $5,000 million worth of new projects are either in the feasibility study stage or early tendering phase. The figures exclude Iran, where planned capacity is set to increase by a further 43 million tonnes by 2011. More is still to come.

In Iraq, where the lack of security remains a stumbling block, the government has issued
19 licences for greenfield plants with activity expected to gather momentum
by the third quarter. The country
has already said it wants to increase current available production from 2.6 million tonnes a year (t/y) to more than 34 million t/y by 2014.

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