Canadian outfit Cemcorp, which plans to operate here as Cement Jamaica, may break ground on its US$340 million cement plant in St Catherine before the year is out.
It hopes to get the final engineering designs to Chinese-based Sinoma International Engineering Company by mid-August.
"They (Sinoma) told us they would be ready (to start) within three months (after getting the final designs)," said Fitz Jackson, a representative of Cement Jamaica. He expects a November start, but that is if all the technical details are agreed on between the contractor, Sinoma, and Cemcorp.
The project went through a rigorous, 12-month approval process through the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and was given the green light last December, "with conditions".
"We are making amendments based on those conditions of the approval," said Jackson. "Bulding a cement plant is not like building a warehouse."
Sinoma may be backed by the Export-Import Bank of China for possible construction loans, even though that may change, according to Jackson, while the Canadian investors are finalising the financial structure of the project.
"We are finalising the roles of the different equity partners," he said.
The plant — which will have the capacity to produce 1.5 million tons of cement clinker (the key ingredient in cement) at a site in Port Esquivel, St Catherine — will take 24 to 30 months to build and commission.
Cement Jamaica will also build a 39-megawatt (MW) co-generation plant — a coal-fired power generation system with capacity of 30 MW and a waste heat recovery (WHR) system with capacity of nine MW. It also said that it found a more suitable clay deposit adjacent to the cement plant site than the existing clay mine in the Tarentum area of Clarendon, from which it planned to buy the raw material.
The company plans to acquire the gypsum it will use to mix with the clinker to make the cement from Caribbean Cement Company's operations at Rockfort, Kingston.