Misr Cement Company (Qena) is pressing ahead with plans to build a greenfield cement plant in Aswan. The project is one of four new plants to which the government awarded licences in 2005.

Qena awarded in mid-June the estimated £E 570 million ($100 million) lump-sum turnkey (LSTK) contract to an unidentified Chinese company. The 30-month contract centres on the construction of a plant with capacity of about 915,000 tonnes a year (t/y). The plant will be export-oriented, targeting Sudan.

The Qena award is the second in recent months for a greenfield project. In March, Denmark’s FL Smidth won the £E 415 million ($72 million) contract to provide engineering services and equipment to the local Arabian Cement Company (ACC) for a new clinker production plant near the city of Suez. The new facility will produce 6,000 tonnes a day of clinker – all destined for export – by mid-2008 (MEED 17:3:06).

Two other greenfield plants are still at the feasibility study stage. The local ASEC Cement Group and Saudi Arabia’s Dallah Albaraka Group were awarded licences to build new lines at Bani Suef. Speaking at the Second MEED Middle East Cement conference, Qena board member Hatem Khalil said in mid-June that the government had also started negotiations for two or three other licences in the Sinai and Bani Suef areas. ‘We expect a further 4.2 million t/y of capacity from 2008 onwards,’ said Khalil.

In recent years, about 6 million t/y of the country’s 34 million t/y of capacity has been exported to Africa and Europe due to dwindling demand at home.