Laos-China high-speed link stimulates cement demand in Laos

08:19, January 11, 2011      

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Laos would need to import at least 3.5 million tonnes of cement to construct the high-speed railway linking Laos and China, as the six domestic cement producers couldn't meet the increasing demand in Laos, local media reports said on Monday.

"Project officials have informed us that they need about 3.5 million tonnes of cement for the railway project. We believe we're unable to provide such a large amount," the state-run Vientiane Times quoted Inpone Phathananoulack, Lao Cement Production Group Secretary General, as saying.

Construction of the seven-billion-U.S. dollar project, which is 421 kilometer long and forms part of the proposed Asean-China railway, is scheduled to begin in April of 2011 and will be completed in 2015.

The railway project officials had expressed a desire to use cement produced in Laos, as the quality of domestic construction material met international standard and was also cheaper than imported one, Inpone said.

However, with the total production capacity of about 1.2 million tonnes annually, Laos' six cement factories could meet only 60 percent of the nation's current demand, and the rest had to be imported to satisfy, even although there were a number of cement factories currently under construction, he added.

Due to a robust economic growth and increase of hydropower station construction and mining projects, the demand for cement in Laos has continued to increase by about 20 percent per year over the past five years, according to the paper.

China and Laos signed a memorandum of understanding to build the railway last year. China will cover a 70 percent of the project investment and the rest will be provided by the Lao partner. The Lao government believes the high-speed link will help laos transform itself from a lanlocked to land-linked nation.

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