Cement production in the Kingdom reached 1,524,248 tonnes in the first two months of this year, up by 2.08 per cent from the 1,493,212 tonnes logged in January-February 2021, according to the Cambodia Cement Manufacturing Association (CCMA).

Kampot Cement Co Ltd (SCG-K CEM) was the largest producer of the Kingdom’s five cement plants at 420,736 tonnes, followed by Battambang Conch Cement Co Ltd (Conch; 349,500 tonnes), Chip Mong Insee Cement Corp (CMIC; 341,388 tonnes), Cambodia Cement Chakrey Ting Factory Co Ltd (Huaxin; 217,656 tonnes) and Thai Boon Roong Cement Co Ltd (194,968 tonnes).

CCMA secretary-general Puth Chandarith told The Post on March 30 that the total output of the five factories can meet “about 90 per cent” of domestic demand, requiring “around one million tonnes” to be imported each year.

With a broad reopening game plan in full swing since November, Chandarith predicted that domestic cement demand would likely improve, supported by a steadily growing stream of new investors in Cambodia along with a subsequent uptick in construction.

Backed by total registered capital in excess of $2 billion, the Kingdom’s cement factories could churn out up to 10 million tonnes per year, should all five run at full capacity, he said, highlighting that growth in locally-made cement could help drive down imports from nearby countries like Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia produced a total of 7,989,864 tonnes of cement in the first 11 months of 2021, the latest figures from the CCMA show.

Huy Vanna, secretary-general of advisory firm Housing Development Association of Cambodia (HDAC), said that despite not quite making a full recovery the Cambodian construction sector is showing a strong and growing appetite for local cement, with insiders reporting that its quality is “not unlike imported cement”.

“I reckon demand for domestically produced cement will increase significantly when the construction sector in Cambodia recovers, after the world has been able to completely control Covid-19,” he said.

A sixth cement factory, with annual production capacity of nearly two million tonnes and registered capital investment of more than $250 million, is planned for northwestern Kampong Speu province, according to provincial governor Vei Samnang.

Samnang told The Post last week that “Chinese company” Conch KT Cement (Phnom Penh) Co Ltd has completed a feasibility study on the plant and is now working on the necessary legal procedures to break ground.

The factory will be located in Monorom village, Horng Samnam commune in the southeastern corner of Kampong Speu’s Oral district.

On March 22, at a meeting between the CCMA and the Ministry of Mines and Energy leadership, minister Suy Sem told the association to ensure that local cement factories deliver quality yet affordable product, keep accurate statistics, comply with their tax and royalty obligations in an appropriate and timely manner, and actively work to reduce carbon emissions and improve environmental factors.

In 2021, a total of 4,303 new construction projects were approved nationwide, with total registered capital investment of $5,333,798,525 – down by 31.21 per cent year-on-year – and total floor area of 12,998,072sqm, Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction data shows.