“The Batsweledi project is running full speed ahead for commissioning during the second quarter of 2008, as planned,” says Taljaard. All the major contracts are placed, with R840-million of the R1,27-billion capital expenditure budgetalready committed. The majorcement plant equipment is mainlymanufactured in Europe and isprogressing to plan. “The construction at our Dwaal-boom factory site is well under way, with initial infrastructure and housing complete and earthworks well advanced and civil works in progress,” adds Taljaard. The Batsweledi project will contribute one-million tons a year of clinker capacity to the market. The clinkerwill be converted into cementmainly at its Dwaalboom, Jupiter and Hercules factories. Project leader Stephen Scholtz notes that PPC’s need to fast-track has resulted in the schedule for the project being very demanding from the outset. “It began with virtually no float and remains as tight as it was,” he adds. However, he notes that there is a commitment from the team not to compromise the date of hot commissioning. When problems to meet key dates were identified, innovative design changes to civil structureswere made without affecting costs. This resulted in substantial reductions in civil construction time and adherence to the original programme was maintained. The new capacity is expectedto come on line in the secondcalendar quarter of 2008 and the capital expenditure programme will be spread over three financial years from 2006, with peak expenditure in 2007. The Batsweledi project’s actualcement production is anticipatedto be in excess of 1,25-million tons a year.
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