Construction materials group AfriSam reports having invested in various internal capacity expansion projects, as well as having re-engineered its product portfolio to meet future demand and avoid shortages in the upcoming years, CEO Stephan Olivier tells Engineering News.
The internal capacity developments include submitting environmental-impact assess- ments (EIAs) for both the construction of a cementitious mineral grinding plant in the Coega industrial development zone (IDZ), near Port Elizabeth, and constructing a greenfield cement plant in the Saldanha Bay IDZ, in the Western Cape.
AfriSam has also conducted an EIA for the installation of a new kiln at its Dudfield plant, in the North West province, with its commissioning date based on future demand and market conditions.
Meanwhile, the group reveals that it plans on buying an additional six readymix concrete plants and acquiring a new aggregate production plant.
Olivier reports having submitted an EIA to the Eastern Cape’s Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism for a cementitious material grinding plant to be constructed in Zone 5 of the Coega IDZ to expand its capacity in future.
He says the exact location of the facility, which will mill granulated blast-furnace slag and blend this with cement clinker from one or more of AfriSam’s existing facilites, will be determined during the EIA process.
Olivier says the lease agreement must also still be finalised.
AfriSam, which already has established limestone deposits in the Saldanha Bay area has initiated an EIA to establish a greenfield cement plant, owing to positive medium-term demand for cement in South Africa.
The cement plant will consist of a grinding and packing facility, which will later be followed by the construction of a 600 000 t/y clinker manufacturing plant.
The limestone quarry, located parallel to the coast, between Saldanha and the Trekkossenkraal 104 farm, will be expanded once the cement plant begins production, owing to the greater demand for limestone in the production of cement.
With this plant, AfriSam aims to service the local and export market and supply its remaining plants if needed.
“The EIA process is well under way and we intend to submit our report by the end of 2012.
The project is expected to improve the available product choices for cement users in the Western Cape, provide a reliable cement supply to the Western Cape market, enhance the country’s balance of payments by exporting cement from the nearby Port of Saldanha Bay, strengthen the local tax base and support local industries and the community.
Dudfield Kiln 4
AfriSam’s Dudfield operation, which is a base factory that produces about two-million tons a year of clinker, part of which is converted to cement while the rest is shipped to the AfriSam cement grinding station in Roodepoort, Johannesburg, for the production of cement, was awarded EIA approval in 2009 for the construction of a new kiln.
Olivier says the general design, as well as the preparation of the ground have started; however, the commissioning of Kiln 4 will be determined around future demand and market conditions.
The new kiln, which will be constructed on the previously mothballed Kiln 1 area, is aimed at increasing the company’s production capacity. Kiln 4 will produce 6 000 t/d of clinker, which is equivalent to about 1.8-million tons a year, he adds.
Tanga Kiln Expansion
AfriSam supplies products to several East African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania through its 62.5%-owned Tanga Cement Company in northern Tanzania.
AfriSam is involved in the $165-million construction of a second 600 000 t/y clinker producing kiln at the Tanga Cement Company’s cement plant, in northern Tanzania; with plans to also increase its presence in the rest of Africa.
The kiln will enable the company to produce enough clinker to meet its own needs and eliminate clinker imports from the East, reducing the exposure to fluctuations in terms of pricing, quality and availability of the clinker.
By producing clinker in Tanzania, AfriSam will avoid the cost of importation from the East, which will result in substantial cost savings for the company.
The construction of the second kiln will start shortly, with commissioning scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.
AfriSam will provide technical support and project management support throughout the project, says Olivier.
Further, he reveals that there are plans in the pipeline to upgrade the plant’s capacity, if required by demand.
AfriSam, which presently has operations in South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Tanzania reports having future plans to expand its operations by establishing a local operational presence in other African countries, says Olivier.
Feasibility studies are currently under way for this purpose and have identified potential countries on the east coast of Africa.
Olivier says a final decision has, however, not yet been made to pursue these prospects owing to challenges such as Africa’s small markets, lack of infrastructure and logistics.
AfriSam will, therefore, base the con- struction of possible plants on the benefits that the potential countries offer.
Olivier says the company is confident that it can continue to supply the future need for building materials in the African countries it already operates in.
Re-engineered Product Portfolio
As part of its commitment to sustainable innovation, AfriSam has re-engineered its product portfolio to deliver effective, fit-for-purpose solutions for particular applications.
AfriSam has upgraded the strength rating of its All Purpose cement from 32.5N to 32.5R, its Eco Building cement from 32.5N to 42.5N, its High Strength cement from 42.5N to 42.5R and its Rapid Hard cement from 52.5N to 52.5R.
The overall benefit of these changes is that AfriSam has introduced technological advances that have increased the performance of its products in terms of the strength, performance, durability and workability associated with advanced composite cements.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
The replacement of clinker content in these cements has also helped AfriSam dramatically reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
The company has also invested in upgrading its production facilities in which these products are produced, which has reduced the clinker content of its cements to an average of just over 60%, which is below the world average, says Olivier.
This has also resulted in a 65% clinker content reduction for its environment- friendly Eco Building cement.
Alternative to Clinker
AfriSam is committed to reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions released during the manufacture of its cement products.
By using less clinker in its cement, which is produced using an energy-intensive process, as a significant amount of heat is required to process the clinker, AfriSam can reduce its overall carbon footprint.
“We cannot afford to keep producing cements using conventional technologies that generate large quantities of CO2 emissions while we have the option of using more technologically advanced composite cements that offer additional advantages compared with conventional cements,” says Olivier.
AfriSam is known for its production of these advanced composite cements, which use by-products from the steel manufacturing and coal-fired power station industries together with chemical activators to improve the characteristics and performance of traditional portland cement.
The use of by-products, such as silica fume, pulverised fly ash and ground granulated blast-furnace slag produces cements which generate concrete with improved heat of hydration, strength, durability and resistance to chemical attack, as well as reduced porosity.