Maple Leaf Cement (MLCF) is one of the most power-efficient companies in the country. Currently, it is completely relying on its captive generation to power its plant operations.
The company has a 25MW Waste Heat Recovery (WHR) plant, a 40MW coal power plant, a 15.8MW dual-fired (FO + gas) plant, and 5MW solar plant.
In addition, the company is expanding its solar capacity to 12.5MW, which is scheduled to come online with the next few months. MLCF has been running its captive coal plant on Afghan coal and faced no problems so far, which has materially saved power costs in the ongoing scenario.
The company had signed a contract with the Chengdu Design and Research Institute, China for the supply of 7,000 tonnes a day (2.1 million tonnes/annum) grey clinker line in late March last year, with the trial production expected in August 2022.
Despite weathering new Covid-19 waves, the company has managed to remain dedicated to its expansion plan with COD of the plant targeted for October 2022. Not only will this plant bring in new efficiencies in the company, it will also give MLCF a prime mover advantage in the upcoming expansionary phase, while also improving its presence in the North as the largest player with all lines of 7.7 million tonnes at one place.
Smart policy making and timely procurement of Afghan and local coal by the management has sheltered MLCF from the tornado in commodity (South African coal) prices. To recall, the company first began testing Afghan coal at its plant during May-June 2021.
Recently, Richards Bay coal prices shot up from as high as $238/tonne in October 2021 to a historic high of $460/tonne, rendering imported coal completely unviable with the cost at plant at over Rs90,000/tonne.
Currently, RB2 is hovering at $370/tonne (Rs75,000/tonne). In comparison, Afghan coal trades at a positive delta of 55 per cent, at present, while PET coke costs 30 per cent and the local coal costs 60 per cent less in comparison to RB2.
The company is consuming a hefty 65 to 70 per cent Afghan coal in its mix, at present, with the remainder majorly comprising PET coke; hence, providing a natural hedge against the exponentially high imported coal and freight costs.