Lafarge has announced the closure of its 0.35Mta cement works at Fragney in Burgundy at the end of 2012. Relatively high production costs and the increased use of blended cements with a lower carbon footprint are given as the reasoning behind the closure.
As part of the effort to get official approval of the merger of Lafarge's British and Irish operations and the Anglo American subsidiary Tarmac, by far the leading British aggregates producer, is proposing to sell the 1.2Mta Hope works in Derbyshire, but keeping the newer 0.8Mta Tarmac Buxton Lime & Cement works in the same county.
Lafarge has acquired a 35% stake in Elite Cementos, part of the Obinesa Group, which retains the remaining 65%. Elite Cementos has a grinding centre in the port of Castilleon, which received its first clinker shipment in October 2008, when Spanish cement demand was already in sharp decline. In the future, Lafarge is expected to supply the clinker requirements.
In Russia, Lafarge intends to have the new 2.Mta unit at Kulbakinsky in the Rostov region fully up-and-running by the end of 2015, with one cement mill scheduled to be commissioned in 2013, using clinker from elsewhere. Originally, completion had been planned for 2011, but the project was halted as Russian cement demand began to drop.
In Nigeria, Lafarge has increased its stake in Ashaka Cement from 50.2% to 58.6%, while the capacity at the Lafarge Cement Wapco works is being raised from 2.0Mta to 4.5Mta as the new 2.5Mta production line goes on-stream in August.
Lafarge is planning a 1.6Mta integrated cement works on Java, which would be similar to the recently-commissioned Semen Andalas works in Aceh on Sumatra. The planned doubling of its Indonesian capacity would still leave Lafarge well behind Gresik, HeidelbergCement and Holcim nationally.