Reports that a crisis management team from Lafarge’s Paris headquarters has flown out to Indonesia to assist at the Andalas facility in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Sumatera suggest that the plant may have been badly hit by the offshore sub-sea earthquake and the resultant tidal wave that then hit the nearby Sumatera costline and where upwards of 20,000 people are said to have been killed in various coastal villages not far from the Andalas works.
Actual information is difficult as there is no direct communication with that part of Aceh but speaking with industry personnel in Jakarta, CemNet is informed that while Andalas has been badly hit, the Padang works further south on this same coast is not affected. We are still awaiting reports about the Langkawi works on Penang island, Malaysia which seems to have been hit by the incoming tidal wave but not to the same extent as Andalas.
Semen Andalas is on the West coast of Sumatera and the road to there is blocked with no news reports yet from that area. However CemNet was informed that the MV Sinar Ansalas, a 6000 ton vessel, was loading and the Indonesian navy first said she had ended up on dry land. We have since heard that 3 crew survived and the ship is now sunk in the harbour. It also appears the factory and housing estate were engulfed in mud, but the loss of life is as yet unknown.
The Andalas problem will obviously affect supply in Indonesia, which was already getting tight in November/December with prices in Jakarta at one point reaching over US$80/t in the local market.
If all is well at Kedah’s Langkawi works, Lafarge will soon be able to supply Indonesian terminals in Sumatra from Kedah, but this will not be sufficient and Padang/Cibinong/Indocement will have to increase supply to the area and reduce overseas exports.
Meanwhile little news at all from Sri Lanka where Tokyo Cement’s Trincomalee grinding plant and sea terminal was seen as in the direct path of the incoming tidal wave. Similarly Galle cement facilities to the south would have been affected. Speaking to industry sources in India, they confirmed that a number of local distribution facilities will have been badly hit by the Tsunami whether this includes the Holcim grinding facility at Galle is not yet known with Holcim unavailable for comment at the time of writing.