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FCFA 12.5 Billion Steel Company Launched In Ombe 

By Francis Tim Mbom — The foundation stone for an FCFA 12.5 billion steel plant was, July 20, laid in Ombe, Fako Division, Southwest Region, for production to begin by March 2013.

The Secretary General in the Ministry of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Dr Fuh Calistus Gentry, flagged off the beginning of construction works for the Guff Steel Industries as he laid the foundation stone at the Ombe site.

“It is a great honour for me to be here in the Southwest Region on the occasion of laying of the foundation stone for the proposed Guff Steel Advanced Industry,” Dr Fuh said.

Dr. Fuh observed that Cameroon was blessed with huge natural resources: minerals, agriculture, forestry and so on. But, he said, most of these resources have, in the past, been extracted and exported abroad either entirely or with little or no pre-transformation.

He said the setting up of the Ombe Steel factory was in line with Government’s new policy that at least 15 percent of natural or mineral resources extracted from Cameroon must be transformed in the country.

The CEO of Guff Steel Industries, GSI, Dr Sigalla Clever, said their main drive was to reduce the cost of building materials such as iron rods and others. The Ombe plant, he said, shall be producing materials for household construction and also feeding local industries with needed steel for their raw materials. They intimated that part of the produce shall be sold within the Central African region and beyond. Sigalla reiterated that their products shall strive for quality.

GSI shall be partnering with a Singaporean Company known as FlevumAsia.

According to FlevumAsia CEO, Suredj Autar, their coming to invest in Cameroon in partnership with GSI was in line with their company’s policy of sharing knowledge and experience with other companies around the world in a bid to help make better the lives of people elsewhere.

“We have been selected to be a partner to this important project. We truly believe that investing in this industry will bring about great economic growth which, in turn, will be positive for the citizens of Cameroon and local businesses,” Suredj said.

He maintained that they have not come to reap and take away but to “make and enjoy business together with Cameroonians.”

The Ombe plant shall take some 500 direct employees but its multiplier effect to other companies shall certainly open room for employment. The plant shall be built on a 2.88-hectare parcel of land. It shall be equipped with a laboratory and provided with other facilities like a guest house, security and medical provisions.

FlevumAsia CEO went on to promise that their company was going to ensure training and empowerment of local labour so that “they can better contribute to the society” and economic growth of Cameroon.

Steel plants every where usually demand a lot of electricity for most of its production revolves around smelting of ores of minerals like iron, nickel, cobalt or others to produce fine steel. The steel plant in Ombe shall require 2.500 kilowatts in order to carry on with its operations.   

Asked how GSI shall cope when Cameroon has been noted for frequent power outages, sometimes for days, the SG from the Ministry said Government’s new energy projects in Lom Pangar and Memvele shall soon cater for these problems.

“Our huge natural potentials are further boosted by an enormous energy capacity. The President is currently on the run in the country inaugurating giant energy projects. We just finished with Memvele and in the coming days, Lom Pangar will be inaugurated.”

Fuh, on behalf of his Minister, remarked that Cameroon had the second highest electricity potential in Africa that just needs harnessing as Government is currently doing.

He also disclosed that the GSI Company shall be fed with raw materials from Cameroon’s iron ore mines in the East and South Regions of the country such as the Mbalam mine.

The construction for the plant shall be executed by a Cameroonian firm, RADEM Construction Company. On hand for the foundation stone ceremony was Tita Nawa Musa who represented the Board Chair of RADEM, and Ndzesop Nah Mama, the Commercial Director of RADEM.

Nah Mama told The Post that, in the days ahead, as soon as they conclude their arrangements with Guff Steel, they will begin with the construction of the fencing of the plant and proceed there on with the plant itself.

He said RAMDEM was a Douala-based construction firm specialised in public works and transportation. He said that given their quest to grow bigger and stronger, they were still open to those interested in joining them as shareholders or partners.

First published in The Post print edition no. 01361

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