Taiheiyo Cement Corp, the country’s largest cement manufacturer, has approached Ube-Mitsubishi Cement Corp and Sumitomo Osaka Cement Co to assist in filling orders for low-heat cement after its main plant in Iwate Prefecture was damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Low-heat cement is used in building bridge footings, dams and oil tank foundations. Until the disaster, Taiheiyo Cement was producing 80,000 tons of the material annually at a plant in Ofunato, its only one dedicated to the product. Production there accounted for 50-60% of the industry’s total output.
However, the Ofunato plant was heavily damaged by the earthquake and tsunami and power lines to it were severed. Power will not be restored until May and the plant will not reopen for at least two or three months, according to company officials. The company had run through all of its low-heat cement inventory by the end of last week.
Sumitomo Osaka Cement makes low-heat cement at a plant in Ako, Hyogo Prefecture, and at Taiheiyo’s request will raise production by 1000 to 1,00t this month. Ube-Mitsubishi Cement, which makes the product at its Kyushu plant, is also considering a similar move.
Demand for low-heat cement is expected to soar as the country works to rebuild from the natural disaster.