South Africa’s concrete and cement additive suppliers are under severe production pressures, owing to a global shortage of many of the primary raw materials used in the chemicals industry essential to produce concrete and cement admixtures, says additives and admixtures specialist Chryso Southern Africa group CEO Norman Seymore.
He adds that the pressure stems from increased demand for cement and concrete, created by an uptick in infrastructure projects stemming from the drive to revive global economies after Covid-19.
Seymore says it is Chryso Southern Africa’s goal is to help mitigate the current shortages through maintained production and supply to the local concrete and cement sectors.
“Although Chryso Southern Africa is experiencing the consequences of this strong imbalance between supply and demand at a global level, we are doing everything possible to maintain continuity of supply of our products. “ The situation will take some time to resolve and cost constraints are expected to continue for the foreseeable future,” he adds.
He explains the significant shortage of raw materials, in the US, and severe industrial accident at a major chemicals company, in Europe, have caused production interruptions and major setbacks for many players in the petrochemicals industry.
The shortage in the US can be attributed to a combination of several factors, including extremely cold weather and snow storms which closed several petrochemicals plants on the Gulf Coast in February.
Chryso’s primary raw materials are predominantly sourced from by-products from the oil industry.
Additionally, scheduled maintenance shutdowns of plants worldwide also negatively impacted on the production of rawmaterials.
Admixtures and additives are key components of the concrete mix, enhancing concrete performance in terms of strength, durability, material costs, as well as general site productivity, says Seymore.
Admixtures for concrete and additives for cement are used by most of the concrete and cement producers for various technical requirements in terms of their performance and cost benefits.
Chryso Southern Africa’s three major plants in Boksburg, Gauteng; Durban, KwaZulu-Natal; and Parow, in the Western Cape, produce admixtures and additives that service the cement, ready-mix concrete, precast concrete, new construction and mining industries.