The Lafarge plant at Exshaw celebrated a key accomplishment as groundwork continues for the next chapter in the cement plant's 100-plus-year history. The Exshaw expansion is currently the biggest global investment Lafarge is undertaking, and now the cement company is able to see the rewards of its expensive expansion come to life.
First clinker was achieved at the multi-hundred million-dollar plant expansion from the newly-established Kiln 6.
“What we achieved (on May 22) was a major milestone,” said Jim Bachmann, plant manager.
“That's basically the accumulation of nines years of permitting and engineering and then the last three years of construction and operation preparation activities and training and working with the employees.”
The older side of Exshaw's plant produces about 2300tpd of clinker per day, and the new plant, at full production, will produce 4200tpd – making about 6500t of clinker per day.
Construction nearly being complete on the new side of operations is a “big step” in the process of the Exshaw plant becoming more environmentally friendly as well, said MD of Bighorn Reeve Dene Cooper.
In November Lafarge shut down the aging Kiln 4 after four decades in production as part of a provincial environmental requirement.
Comparing the two kilns, Kiln 6, per tonne of production, will be emit about 30 per cent less sulphur dioxide, 75 per cent less nitrous oxide emissions, and 25 per cent lower in greenhouse gas emission from combustion.
“I think we're really happy for it. It is always possible to take an old kiln and dress it up with jewelry, but you can only go so far with that,” said Cooper.
“(Kiln 6) will run with fewer emissions; it's a pretty much all round gain for the community.