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Cement News

»   » GCC beats forecast with strong US results
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 10:57:49 +0000

GCC beats forecast with strong US results

Mexico: Group Cementos Chihuahua (GCC) reported a better-than-expected fourth quarter in 2019, due largely to record sales volumes in the US, its main market. A delay to the start of the construction season, an order book containing contracts for oil well cement and alternative energy projects and strong residential and infrastructure segments, boosted its cement sales volumes by 12.3%. Along with an increase of 2.9% in prices overall (4.8% rise in the US), this gave rise to sales figures 13.2% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"Our excellent operational execution and robust distribution network, supported by improved climate, once again contributed to record volumes in cement in the US, surpassing our estimates," said Enrique Escalante, GCC’s Managing Director.

In its domestic Mexican market, sales increased by 5.6% due to a mixture of higher prices and appreciation of the national currency. Industrial warehouse construction segments, mining projects and middle housing in border towns were factors for the rise.

»   » Oficemen presents Manifesto against an empty Europe
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 10:56:00 +0000

Oficemen presents Manifesto against an empty Europe

Spain: The Association of cement manufacturers of Spain (Oficemen) attended a debate at the European Parliament Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium that discussed future population trends across the EU.

The Vice President of Cembureau and Oficemen, Isidoro Miranda, was in charge of opening the meeting. He highlighted the role of the industry as an “activity that solidly confers on the economy of a country in terms of wealth generation, employment and the economic and social wellbeing.”

Highlighting that many cement plants operate for 80 or more years, Miranda added that of Spain’s 33 integrated cement plants, 12 are within what is considered to be ‘empty Spain,’ areas that have experienced rapid depopulation in the past 20-30 years.

To end the meeting, the President of Oficemen, Víctor García Brosa, highlighted that, "Depopulation is one of the great political challenges facing Europe today. It affects 80% of the territory and it is necessary to have strategies specific to promote economic development, access to services and connectivity. The decline or disappearance of traditional industries in Europe leads to loss of qualified employment and a mismatch between supply and demand in the labour market. A role for industries is essential to address the challenge of population fixing and combating emptied Europe."

During the event, Oficemen and The Industrial Federation of Food and Beverages (FIAB) presented a 'Manifesto against the Empty Europe,’ which they say is "a call made to the institutions of the EU to strengthen the role of the industry as a brake on the demographic decline.

»   » Ambuja’s profit halves
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 10:54:25 +0000

Ambuja’s profit halves

India: Lafarge Holcim-owned Ambuja Cement’s consolidated net profit almost halved to US$100.4m during the three months to 31 December 2019, from US$191.4m in the three months to 31 December 2018. The 2018 result was boosted by a one off benefit of US$121.5m, meaning that underlying operating profit has improved year-on-year. Ambuja’s revenue from operations was up by 6% to US$992m from US$936m.

»   » Kuwait Portland Cement results collapse
Fri, 21 Feb 2020 10:52:57 +0000

Kuwait Portland Cement results collapse

Kuwait: Kuwait Portland Cement has reported that its fourth quarter profit for 2019 fell by 44% to US$4.57m from US$8.15m in the fourth quarter of 2018. Its fourth quarter operating revenue in 2019 was US$76.3m, down by 36% from US$119m a year earlier.

»   » Turkish cement exports rise 68% in 2019
Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:19:09 +0000

Turkish cement exports rise 68% in 2019

Turkey: Turkey exported a total of 23Mt of cement and clinker in 2019, a year-on-year increase of 68%, according to Dr Tamer Saka, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Cement Manufacturers’ Association (TÇMB). The value of the country’s cement and clinker exports was US$877m, a 44% increase. The discrepancy between volume and value growth rates indicates that Turkish exporters are sold at lower prices in 2019 than in 2018 on average. The nation’s cement is transported to more than 100 countries in 2019, with the most important recipients listed as the US, , Ghana and Ivory Coast.”

Speaking upon the occasion of TÇMB’s General Assembly meeting on 17 February 2020, at which he was re-elected as Chairman, Dr Saka said, “In January 2020, cement exports increased by 81% to reach 1.1Mt and clinker exports grew by 29% to reach 1.3Mt. Our forecast is that the Turkish cement sector will grow by approximately 2% in domestic sales and 15% in exports this year.”

In the Board of Directors of Turkish Cement Manufacturers’ Association (TÇMB) where Dr. Tamer Saka acts as the Chairman of the Board, Adil Sani Konukoğlu became the Deputy Chairman and Nihat Özdemir, Ali Pastonoğlu, Gökhan Bozkurt, and Fatih Yücelik were appointed as Vice Chairmen.

»   » Cemex launches Climate Action strategy
Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:17:31 +0000

Cemex launches Climate Action strategy

Mexico: Cemex has announced a new Climate Action strategy, which outlines the company’s vision to advance towards a carbon-neutral economy and to address society’s increasing demands more efficiently. The company states that it believes climate change to be one of the biggest challenges of our time and support collective action.

It says that it has already reduced its net specific CO2 emissions by more than 22% compared to its 1990 baseline. It has now defined a more ambitious target of a 35% reduction of net specific CO2 emissions by 2030. This new goal is aligned with the Science-Based Targets methodology, a requirement that is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. To complement this strategy with a longer-term vision, Cemex is also establishing a new ambition to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050.

“Climate change has been a priority for Cemex for many years,” said Fernando A Gonzalez, Cemex CEO. “Our efforts have brought significant progress to date, but we must do more. This is why we have defined a more ambitious strategy to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030 and to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete by 2050.”

To fulfil this strategy, Cemex has a laid out a CO2 roadmap to accelerate the roll-out of proven technologies across its facilities, including investing in energy efficiency, using alternative fuels, expanding the use of renewable energy, and increasing the substitution of clinker with alternative cementitious materials. It says its aim of net-zero CO2 concrete will require open innovation that requires strategic partnerships and cross-industry collaboration in the development of breakthrough technologies like CO2 capture, storage and utilisation, novel clinkers with low heat consumption, alternative decarbonated raw materials, carbonation of concrete waste for use as recycled aggregates, and the promotion of circular economy models that transform waste into fuel.

»   » SCG signs up to plastic waste MoU
Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:15:30 +0000

SCG signs up to plastic waste MoU

Vietnam: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build public private collaborations towards a circular economy for plastic waste management was signed in Hanoi on 19 February 2020. The agreement, the first of its kind in Vietnam, was signed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Dow Chemical Company Vietnam, Siam Cement Group (SCG), and Unilever Vietnam International.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan said the average use of plastic per capita in Vietnam is not as high as that of developed countries in the world. However, with a population of nearly 100 million and an incomplete solid waste management infrastructure, plastic waste has been a big challenge for developing countries like Vietnam. It is likely that SCG will act as an off-taker of non-recyclable plastic residues, burning them as an alternative for fossil fuels in its cement kilns.

»   » Troubled Boral sees profit slide 40%
Thu, 20 Feb 2020 10:13:40 +0000

Troubled Boral sees profit slide 40%

Australia: Boral has seen a 40% decrease in its profit during the first half of its fiscal year a period that ended on 31 December 2019. Its profit fell to US$90.4m for the period from US$151m a year earlier. Boral said that this was due to higher costs and weak housing activity in Australia and South Korea. It was also affected by the costs of transactions between its USG-Boral joint-venture partner USG and Knauf, which bought USG in 2019, along with its interest in USG-Boral.

»   » Ternary cements – The future is now!
Wed, 19 Feb 2020 12:08:11 +0000

There was fantastic news for fans of novel cements this week, when Cementos Argos announced the completion of work on a new 0.45Mt/yr calcined clay production line at its Rio Claro plant in Colombia. This artificial pozzolanic material, developed and promoted by the Swiss-led LC3 consortium in recent years, can dramatically lower cement CO2 emissions by replacing slag and/or fly ash in cement mixes. The Rio Claro plant is the first major cement plant to install such a line following smaller trials in Switzerland, India and Cuba.

Suitable clays are more widely available than slag and fly ash, alleviating some of the difficulty and cost of obtaining supplementary cementitious materials. They also need to be calcined at just 800°C, offering massive savings in terms of fuel costs, CO2 emissions and embodied energy compared to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) production. Karen Scrivener from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the leading academic party in the LC3 consortium, explained that calcined clays are at their best when in ternary (three-way) blends alongside clinker and limestone in the September 2019 issue of Global Cement Magazine. “It has long been known that calcined clays can be pozzolanic,” she explained. “When used alone, the maximum substitution level is around 30%, which gives a moderate saving in CO2 emissions. However, if we substitute a further 15% of the clinker with limestone, we get a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, with a product that has almost identical properties to the blend that contains just the calcined clay.”

While the exact composition of Rio Claro’s new products is unclear, it will enable Cementos Argos to produce ternary cement blends with CO2 emissions 38% lower than OPC. Energy consumption is also cut by 30%, which provides secondary benefits in terms of reduced off-site CO2 emissions. At the plant’s launch, Cementos Argos’ President Juan Esteban Calle clearly stated that calcined clays were the way forward, announcing, “With this project we are sowing the seeds of the Argos of the future. It starts today with a new production line at Rio Claro. In our commitment to climate change, this project makes us very proud.”

The response from Argos’ consumers will be keenly watched, especially in Europe. Just this week LafargeHolcim and Vicat, along with France’s Technical Association of the Hydraulic Binders Industry (ATILH), called on the European Commission and European Committee for Standardisation to hurry up and publish ternary cement standards across the European Union (EU). At the moment these producers are primarily concerned with CEMII / C-M and CEM VI cements. These classes of cement comprise a range of ternary blends that contain clinker and limestone, plus a third component, be it slag, fly ash, natural pozzolans or calcined clay. They claim that placing low-clinker cements on the market could reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by 127kg/t, around 20% of the 656kg/t average in Europe at present.

Frustrated with the delays at Commission level, cement producers have now taken things into their own hands. The plan is to establish the same standard within each EU Member State at the national level, rather than waiting in vain for standards from ‘on high.’ One pressing driver for this behaviour is the rapid approach of the Phase 4 of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in January 2021. In Phase 4 it is likely that EU cement producers will be allocated only 80% of the free allowances they have become accustomed to. They will have to buy the remainder at market prices, currently Euro25.1/t of CO2 (17 February 2020). This will represent a massive new expense for some producers. The opportunity to sell cement that emits only 58% of the CO2 of OPC is clearly exceedingly attractive as a way to reduce outgoings. CO2 emissions will be reduced, of course but, as usual, the way to make companies do things is to hit them in the wallet.

Indeed, on this point, Vicat seemed to almost goad or ‘troll’ its competitors in Europe this week by announcing that it has never sold any EU ETS allowances and is sitting atop a 5Mt CO2 reserve worth Euro120m. This is sufficient to last it until 2030 at current prices. The key part of that last sentence is ‘current prices,’ which are subject to change. In its press release, Vicat was keen to point out that it is not resting on its laurels, highlighted by its advocacy for ternary blends and continued development of alternative fuels. This may be wise, considering that EU ETS allowances will likely cost more once Phase 4 kicks in.

With clinker factors of just 50 - 65% for CEMII / C-M, and 35 - 50% for CEM VI, Edelio Bermejo, director of research and development (R&D) at LafargeHolcim insists, "These cements are no longer at the research and development stage. They have been widely validated and we are ready to produce them, especially as their manufacture does not require modification of our facilities." The establishment of Cementos Argos’ Rio Claro calcined clay plant proves his point. We can expect to hear a lot more about these blends in the coming months. In the words of Bermejo, “The future is here!”

»   » Matthias Mersmann returns to KHD
Wed, 19 Feb 2020 11:35:54 +0000

Germany: Matthias Mersmann has been appointed by the Supervisory Board as a new member of the Management Board of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG, effective 1 February 2020. He contributes his long-term expertise in the technology of cement manufacturing processes and equipment design, which he has acquired in various executive positions with OEM suppliers as well as an independent consultant. From 1994 to 2008, Mersmann worked for KHD Humboldt Wedag in Cologne and became familiar with the product portfolio, the staff and cement clients.

After leaving KHD in 2008, Mersmann founded the cement consultancy aixergee GmbH and specialised on the optimisation of equipment of all kinds and makes for the manufacture of cement. He was also called into the Executive Committee of Loesche GmbH for five years, where he was responsible for the technology of the Loesche products.

"While the cement industry emits 7% of all man-made CO2-emissions alone, a future without cement is unthinkable,” says Mersmann. “This, along with the digital transformation, will set the frame for all industry participants to re-shape their way of doing business. For KHD this provides so much more an opportunity than it provides a problem. KHD has a combination of advantages that can help it to develop a prosperous future, if we work it out right. It will take all our ambition and motivation and maybe a lot of ‘new thinking, ’ but it will be worthwhile. I am looking forward to cooperating with the best engineers in the industry and a highly qualified and motivated team in the management board to bring KHD back into a leading position of the cement equipment suppliers.”

Mario Zhu, CEO of KHD, said, “We are all very happy at the return of Matthias back to KHD! I am sure with his leadership KHD technology team shall be further strengthened and thus bring further benefit to our clients and the global cement industry.”