Carib Cement has begun production of a newly formulated cement, that the firm says is stronger, more environment friendly, and cheaper to produce than the conventional alternative, and that the new product represents the first phase in the long-term transformation of the company.
The product called Carib Cement Plus, was formally unveiled on Wednesday, though it has been in production, and on the market for a few weeks.
The company’s general manager, Anthony Haynes, told journalists and members of the construction industry that to create the new cement, one-quarter of the mixture in the conventional formulation - that is largely comprised of clinker - was replaced with a volcanic pozzolan material.
The cement will retail for about three per cent below the price of the conventional product, translating into a reduction of between $7,500 and $10,000 in the price of building a house of about 750 square feet in size.
Another advantage that the new Portland pozollan cement has, is the reduction of the green house effect in its production, according to John Mendes, of Quality, Production and Marketing Consultant Ltd. The new product was therefore welcome by Mendes, because, he argues, by improving their externalities, companies like Caribbean Cement were engendering a much more sustainable manufacturing process - one that would be in sync with the new demands of international trading treaties.
Donald Mullings, the president of the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica, and who attended Wednesday’s launch, told the Observer that the industry welcomed the new cement. "With the cost of building materials such as steel rising, any reduction in cost is welcome," he declared. Mullings estimates the cement cost component in building a typical house at between seven and nine per cent.The inclusion of pozollan in the cement is also to improve the durability of concrete in seaside, marine and harsh environments.
Carib Cement Plus represents the first phase of the company’s US$100-million development programme in which the existing plant will be modernised and made more efficient.