The Dangote Cement Plc, a subsidiary of the Dangote Group, discloses its plan to start mining coal at Ankpa, Kogi State, in November.
The company said that due to acute gas shortage in the country, following disruptions of supply by militants in the Niger Delta region, it had switched its plant lines to coal to minimise cost.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Cement, Onne van der Weijde, said that disruption to the gas supply had deteriorated, adding: “These are challenging times for Nigeria and Dangote Cement but we are taking strong actions that will position the company for continuing success. Our coal mining initiative will benefit both the company and the Nigerian economy by reducing the need for foreign exchange and helping us to both protect existing jobs and create new ones.
“Although we have indicated a more measured approach to our expansion across Africa, we have new operations opening soon in Congo and Sierra Leone and these will strengthen the company’s profitability and generate additional foreign currency earnings. Despite the challenges we are facing, we continue to focus on becoming a global force in cement production.”
The company said devaluation of the naira had increased costs in its largest market-cement, forcing the company to jerk the ex-factory price of the product by N600 per bag.
The company said that many of its production lines were now capable of running entirely on coal, hoping that this development would eliminate the company’s dependence on gas supplies, imported coal and, more significantly, LPFO.