Carib Cement will next month move into a pivotal phase of its US$100m expansion and modernisation programme, when it begins construction of the foundation for a new kiln. At the end of the expansion programme at mid-2008, the local cement manufacturer will double its output capacity.
Last week Anthony Haynes, general manager of the Rockfort, Kingston company told Sunday Finance that the firm would begin the foundation for the kiln and cement mill, scheduled for completion in two years. "We currently have two kilns. the plan is to shut down and replace one with this new kiln to double our total capacity," he said. "We will start the foundation next month, and expect the new plant to be fully operational by the middle of 2008. We also plan on doubling our cement milling capacity." Haynes also said Carib Cement was exploring the use of off-site locations to store the increased output.
"We have to maximise efficiency and minimise specific energy consumption," he says. "Bunker ’C’ currently cost seven times the cost of coal. Last year, (2005) we spent about US$3m as part of our expansion and modernisation programme, upgrading our coal systems. We are now in the high 90 per cent levels in terms of coal use."
Added Haynes: "We are also working with the solid waste agency, to see what we can do with alternative fuels, such as tyres, PET (plastic bottles), and so on. Jamaica is a high energy-cost place and has no natural competitive advantage in energy price. The new kiln will use coal, and petcoke, which is cheaper than coal."
The company currently supplies all of the cement used in the Jamaican market. Total consumption in 2004 was estimated at approximately 862,000t and demand is projected to grow by about eight per cent per annum over the next five years. For 2006, the projected demand is one million tonnes.