INCREASING demand for black granite, particularly in the construction industry, has compelled a Rusape businessman to invest in beneficiation of the dimension stone.
Cosmas Granite is getting granite blocks from Mutoko and processing them into floor and wall tiles, table tops, as well as tombstones.
The indigenous company is targeting both the local and export markets for its products.
This resonates well with Government’s stance on the need to beneficiate granite and ban exportation of the unprocessed stone as part of efforts to enhance foreign currency generation.
Cosmas Granite started off in 2004 as an informal business specialising in tombstones.
It has since evolved into a formally registered company that now employees 23 workers at its eight branches in Rusape, Nyanga, Mutare, Marondera, Chivhu, Nyika and Hauna.
Founder, Mr Cosmas Chitere, said he sold his bicycle and a goat to raise capital for the business.
“When l established this business, l was working as a security guard.
My employer had shareholding in a granite cutting and polishing company in Harare. He exposed me to this business and encouraged me to learn from him. After acquiring enough experience, I started my business in 2004.
“I bought granite polishing equipment from South Africa and l intend to import a cutting machine. It is, however, work in progress,” said Mr Chitere.
He said the first stage of the production process involves cutting granite from the quarry face into large blocks of various dimensions.
“This involves cutting the large blocks into unpolished slabs of various thicknesses. Thereafter, the slabs are polished and further cut into the specific dimensions required by the clients.
“Polishing granite requires a complete set of polishing pads. They are used one by one to attain the excellent finishing,” he said, adding that granite is in high demand due to its luxurious look, strength and durability.
However, Mr Chitere bemoaned prohibitive transport costs of ferrying granite slabs from Mutoko to Rusape.
“The supply of the material is the biggest challenge. The processed product is readily available in Harare, but it is very expensive, so we end up travelling to and from Mutoko to get the raw product and beneficiate it ourselves. The transport costs are high but I have two trucks for that,” said Mr Chitere.
He has also acquired 3 000-square metres of land with a view of turning the business into a one-stop-shop.
Granite is used as a building and paving stone on monuments, bridges, roads and tombstones.
In interior projects, granite is used to make kitchen counter-tops, bathroom sinks, basins and floor tiles, among other things.
Granite is a premium building material that stands out for its long-lasting beauty. When installed, it provides distinction that other materials are unable to.
It is the world’s most heavily quarried dimension stone.
A dimension stone is a natural rock material quarried for the purpose of obtaining blocks or slabs that meet specific sizes and shapes. Manica Post