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China to build 100 cement plants in Belt and Road region

By Angus McNeice in London | | Updated: 2017-12-13 01:45
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China's biggest cement producer will construct 100 cement factories across 50 countries and economies in Asia and Africa during the next three years, the company's chairman confirmed in London on Tuesday.

Song Zhiping, from China National Building Material, was speaking in the British capital, where he is attending the annual congress of the World Cement Association, which is also called the WCA.

He was elected president of the association during the congress. The organization represents 59 member companies from 33 countries and economies.

Song said the new facilities will be built in nations that are covered by the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, which is the nation's signature international infrastructure and development program.

"There is huge demand for urbanization and industrialization in many Belt and Road countries," Song said. "They require a huge amount of cement, so the Belt and Road is highly significant to the cement industry. In the next three years, we are committed to building 100 new cement production lines in Belt and Road countries."

China National Building Material, which is also known as CNBM, became the world's largest producer of cement this month, when a merger with China National Materials, which is also known as Sinoma, was approved.

The WCA's chairman, Ali Emir Adiguzel, said the association had elected Song as president because of his role in helping orchestrate China's continued restructuring of the cement industry.

China has closed many old plants and merged hundreds of producers in pursuit of efficiency, and to cut overcapacity.

China has also upgraded existing plants, to reduce emissions in the manufacturing process and slash their environmental impact. The cement industry contributes around 5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the World Resources Institute.

"As far as I know, this is the first time China has taken the lead of a global association of this kind," Adiguzel said. "China is restructuring the whole industry, and reducing emissions and environmental pollutants while doing it. The importance of Mr Song's presidency is to transfer the knowledge and experience that they have accrued in the Chinese market."

Adiguzel said European nations are producing double the cement they need.

"Europe is not doing much to eliminate old plants and to rationalize production and restructure the industry, so China is a good example for the world," he said.

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