The plants will each have a capacity of 1.6 million tonnes a year (t/y). One will be built at Ben Ahmed, in Settat province, and is due to start production in late 2010. The other will be near Beni Mellal and is expected to be completed in 2011. Investment in the plants is expected to reach $489,000.

Ciments de l’Atlas is one of three companies planning to build new cement plants in Morocco. In 2007 Spain’s Lubasa signed an agreement with the government to build a new facility in Sidi Kacem. The local Ynna Holding Group is also believed to be planning a facility in Settat.

Morocco’s cement sector is largely dominated by four companies that are backed by four international cement producers: France’s Lafarge, Italy’s Italcimenti, Switzerland’s Holcim and Portugal’s Cimpor.

The trade and industry ministry estimates the country’s cement production will double by the end of 2010. Lafarge; which operates three cement production facilities at Casablanca, Meknes and Tetouan is increasing capacity through projects to double output at the Tetouan cement plant and the Tangier grinding mill. Lafarge’s current production is 4.2 million t/y (MEED 12:3:08).