Cement crisis hitting hard, Brisbane, Australia

Cement crisis hitting hard, Brisbane, Australia
Published: 16 November 2007

Brisbane City Council is staring down the barrel of construction hikes, threatening blow-outs on key road projects including the Hale St Link bridge.  
 
Demand on building materials and labour has soared as work begins on billions of dollars of essential south-east infrastructure.  
 
Cement is flagged to rise by $8 per tonne next year amid transport and import cost hikes, while concrete manufacturers fear a looming critical shortage in quarry goods and ongoing difficulty sourcing coal. City Hall this month warned the overheated construction market could trigger rises in the price of pre-mixed concrete.  
 
Three large cement suppliers dominate both the Australian and Brisbane market for pre-mixed concrete...price competition appears minimal, a report states.  
 
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said price fluctuations would not affect the North South Bypass tunnel, but would hit the Hale Street toll bridge. The $241 million project has already suffered a budget blow-out, as has the $1.5 billion Northern Link toll tunnel, which will open with a toll of more than $4 in 2014.  
 
It is going to have an impact for all major construction projects, that is why the sooner we will get going the better, he said.  
 
Concrete manufacturer Wagner Group director Denis Wagner said cement was at a critical shortage, while quarry resources would be exhausted by 2015.  
 
Sunstate Cement sales manager Michael Thompson said the impending cement price rise was not abnormal, but oil prices would continue to have an impact.