East African Granite Industries (EAGI) has announced plans to construct a granite tiles plant. The $10.5 million or Rwf6.4 billion factory will be established in Nyagatare district, eastern province by August this year.
Owned by Building Materials Investments (BMI)—a joint venture by the National Social Security Fund of Rwanda (NSSFR), Horizon Group and Crystal Ventures— EAGI plans to produce 120,000 granite tiles per year with a provision to expand to 200,000 tiles depending on the market demand.
The investment is composed of Rwf2 billion for machinery, Rwf2.7 billion for the construction of the plant and Rwf840 million for water and electricity.
“We are set to explore the tile market in the region with an ambitious target to supply the market of about $97.4m,” Nick Barigye, the coordinator of EAGI said in an exclusive interview with Business Times, adding that EAGI is seeking a partnership with China’s Beijing Union Stones to provide the expertise and technology that is needed to implement the project.
Beijing Union Stones will train about 160 people on mining skills before the factory kicks off.
According to Barigye the regional market for finishing products like tiles is still big with only four companies from East Africa—two from Tanzania and two in Kenya.
“Our equipment and big reserves has the capacity to produce above 300,000 tile stones but it will be driven by demand on the market,” he added.
The depot covers 47 hectares of pure granite stones that will produce different shapes and colours of granite tiles, he said.
He underscored that factory will facilitate the growth of Rwanda’s housing industry by reducing the importation of tiles and lowering prices on the local market.
“Our first attention is import substitution of tiles; we are assured that it will take away the hassles of time and unnecessary costs that contribute highly to the cost of granite tile,” Barigye said.