The World's White Cement

Monthly: June 2019


Xuan Khiem Group seeking government approval to build US$214m cement plant in Vietnam

Vietnam: Xuan Khiem Group is seeking government approval to build a US$214m cement plant in Hoa Binh province. The Xuan Son plant will have a production capacity of 2.3Mt/yr and it is scheduled to be completed in 2020, according to the Viet Nam News newspaper. The People’s Committee of Hoa Binh province and Xuan Khiem Group signed a memorandum of understanding to build the plant in late 2018.


Malaysian cement producers agree not to raise prices

Malaysia: Cement producers have agreed not to raise their prices after a meeting with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, despite mounting raw material costs and negative currency exchange issues. Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that the producers were also asked to ‘discuss’ any future prices rises with the ministry first, according to the Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA). He added that cement is a controlled item and action under the Control Of Supplies Act could be taken against producers found to increase the price without the government’s approval. The government is also working on a target-based petrol subsidy, although further work is required on this.

Earlier in June 2019 the Cement and Concrete Association of Malaysia has defended a reported 40% rise in the price of cement due to unsustainable mounting input costs. It said that over the last few years the cement industry had suffered from increased costs for electricity, packing materials, imported fuels, raw materials and equipment.


June Cement Industry waiting for permission to use coal-powered electricity

Myanmar: June Cement Industry’s new 5000t/day plant is waiting for permission from the government to use 15MW of electricity generated from two coal power plants. The US$471m unit is based at PyarTaung, KawPaNaw Village, Kyaikmayaw Township in Mon State, according to the Mon News Agency. The plant will extract limestone from the Pyartaung Mountain area. Coal for the plant is expected to be delivered via the River Attran. Local residents have expressed concern that barges may cause flood damage along the river’s banks.


Philippine Cement Importers Association refutes claims that imports are damaging local industry

The Philippine Cement Importers Association (PCIA) has refuted the claims of local cement manufacturers that an increase in cement imports has caused ‘serious injury’ to their operations. In a position paper submitted to the Tariff Commission on the imposition of safeguard measures on imported cement, the PCIA said that some local producers were reporting continued profits despite the level of imports, according to the Manila Bulletin newspaper. It also denied accusations that cement imports were absorbing 17.2% of local production and 14.2% of total market demand.

“We have a domestic cement industry that is robust and resilient amid the import surge, and already competitive against imports,” said the PCIA. “The 2013 to 2017 results of operations of the domestic cement industry showed its ability to compete with cement imports. Despite the surge of imports during the period of investigation (2013 – 2017), the domestic industry continued to exhibit improving revenues and continuing profitability.” It finished by saying that the Philippine cement industry was globally competitive and did not require any structural adjustment.


Cement Production in Egypt

Cement consumption and production in Egypt. Sources: Industrial Development Agency, Global Cement Directory 2019, Cement division of the Building Materials Chamber of the Federation of Egyptian Industries.

As Graph 1 shows that the backdrop here is of a local cement sector rife with overcapacity. Capacity utilisation rates have hovered around 70% in recent years. The sector breaks down into about a quarter of production capacity under state control and the remainder owned by private companies. Overall, about half of the production capacity is run by multinational companies like Greece’s Titan, France’s Vicat and Germany’s HeidelbergCement.

The country hosts some of the largest cement plants in the world as well as several very big plants by European or North American standards anyway. The whopping 13Mt/yr government/army-run El-Arish Cement plant at Beni Suef opened fully in 2018. It seemed likely that there were going to be losers in the industry following that kind of disruption from a state-owned player. Indeed, Medhat Istvanos, head of the cement division of the Building Materials Chamber of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, explicitly blamed the El-Arish Cement plant for making the situation worse in September 2018. He said that the decision to build the plant was ‘not based on precise information’ and that it had harmed local production.

In the wider picture, the cement sector started to move away from subsidised natural gas and heavy fuel oil to coal instead in the mid-2010s. Tourah Cement mentioned this in its statement about halting production. The government has supported the cement industry through large-scale infrastructure projects and a state-sponsored compensation system under the Contractors Compensation Act that offset the loss prompted by the Egyptian pound’s floatation in 2017.

However, overcapacity has consistently been a problem and this was clear when the El-Arish Cement plant was approved. Exports of cement crept up to 1Mt/yr in 2017 from 0.1Mt/yr in 2015. Yet, as the Low-Carbon Roadmap for the Egyptian Cement Industry pointed out, Egyptian FOB exports of cement cost US$20/t higher than regional competitors such as Turkey. At this kind of disadvantage Egypt lacks the traditional escape route for an overproducing cement sector.

In these kinds of conditions, consolidation appears to be crucial while organic or government-backed demand plays catch-up with the production base. Certainly Egypt has the population and the development potential as its economy grows in the medium to long term. The government stabilising the economy after recent troubles is crucial for the construction industry. In the meantime all is not lost as the focus is on efficiency gains and cost cutting. The growth of alternative fuels as the sector’s fuel mix continues to adjust to the new normal following the abolition of subsidies on natural gas is one example of this.


Rockwell Automation standardises process for cement producers

According to Rockwell Automation, lack of standardisation in cement operations can limit productivity and put a strain on project budgets. To improve productivity, operator consistency, and maintenance efficiency, the company has enhanced its process functions for cement plants. The new functionality includes pre-engineered and tested process instructions and operator face plates developed with leading cement companies to standardize equipment and system configuration, and optimize operations across cement plants.

The customised functions have been added to the Rockwell Automation PlanPAx DCS, allowing them to be integrated and utilised across various plant operations. The modern DCS uses a common automation platform for integration between critical areas of a cement plant, including process, power, information, and safety control.

The enhanced and new functions include processes, such as motor and drives control, valve operations, and sequencing group controls, among others. These functions can help cement producers get one step further on their journey to achieve a fully connected cement plant – offering opportunities to improve plantwide efficiencies, reduce safety risks, and drive better decision making to be more competitive.

Included as part of this launch are additional features, including support for larger systems, improved library instructions, Windows Server 2016 support, and an Asset Centre 9.0 backup agent. These enhancements, as well as the additional functionality, can improve control in all industries.

“Merger and acquisition activity has intensified standardisation challenges across cement operations,” said Fabio Mielli, Market Development Manager, Mining, Minerals, and Cement, at Rockwell Automation. “These new functions allow cement producers to follow a standard approach for all control areas of their plant and among different plants. This helps reduce engineering and deployment risks and helps simplify operation and maintenance activity. Consistency can offer a critical performance advantage, making it easier for plants to expand and add new functions as operations evolve or grow.”


Saudi Cement’s profit falls on weak local demand

Saudi Cement’s revenue for the first quarter of 2019 rose 18% higher year-on-year to US$103.9m, driven by higher export sales volume of cement and clinker. It said that its prices had risen, but that the price rise was not as great as that achieved by some other producers. Its profit for the quarter was US$35.2m, a 7% fall year-on-year. However its profit was 6% higher compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

Saudi Cement’s cement export volumes increased to 0.25Mt for the quarter, while clinker sales volumes (mainly exports) jumped to 0.41Mt. In contrast, local cement sales volumes declined by 16.5% year-on-year to 1.19Mt. Going forward, the company says it will continue to focus on exports in light of weak domestic demand.



Brazil’s cement sales rise 6% in 5M19

In May apparent cement consumption (domestic sales plus imports) in Brazil increased 27.7 per cent YoY to 4.6Mt, according to the country’s cement association, SNIC. The sharp rise reflects the 10-day nationwide truckers’ strike in May 2018 that damaged economic activity and saw domestic cement sales down by 0.9Mt. Sales were up 30.5 per cent in the key southeast market to 2.262Mt, while the northeast – the country’s second-largest market – reported a 23 per cent advance to 0.889Mt. In the south sales were up 22.1 per cent to 0.724Mt and in the central-eastern region there was a 39.5 per cent increase to 0.53Mt. The country’s smallest market, the north, saw offtake up 12.4 per cent to 0.19Mt.

In the first five months of 2019, apparent consumption in the South American country advanced 5.7 per cent YoY to 21.6Mt. Sales growth in the central-eastern part of the country was the strongest at 12.4 per cent to a volume of 2.313Mt, but the southeast also delivered robust growth of 5.1 per cent to 10.397Mt. In the northeast offtake advanced 4.4 per cent to 4.38Mt while in the south sales advanced 5.9 per cent to 3.63Mt. In the north sales edged up 1.2 per cent to 0.921Mt.

SNIC has attributed the latest market expansion to high levels of activity in the real estate sector that have offset the weak performance of infrastructure projects due to low public investment.”The number of new real estate launches is on the rise and [this] is serving as a foundation for the growth of the cement industry,” said SNIC president, Paulo Camillo.

“On the other hand, we still don’t see any movement in the infrastructure sector capable of leveraging cement consumption. Our expectation is that with the approval of the pension reform, the economy will be more positive, enabling a new cycle of growth,” he concluded.

Exports fell by 20 per cent in May 2019 to 8000t from 10,000t in May 2018, while in the first five months of 2019, overseas sales dropped 10.9 per cent to 41,000t from 46,000t in the 5M19.


15th Global Slag Conference, Exhibition & Awards

The conference will allow all attendees to maximize their profits from slag – both ferrous and non-ferrous, will keep them up-to-date with the industry state-of-the-art and will provide extensive networking and business opportunities for both producers and users of slag and slag-based products. If your business is slag, make it your business to attend the 15th Global Slag Conference in 2020!

The registration fee includes attendance at the conference and exhibition, conference proceedings book including delegate names/company/country and all available power-point slides, memory stick including all available presentations in PDF format, participation in networking/speed-dating sessions, delegate name badge, special distribution magazine, conference briefcase, coffee breaks and snacks, lunches, welcome reception and farewell reception.


The conference early-bird registration fee is £645 until 16 January 2020 and the normal rate is £745 from 17 January to 20 February 2020. The conference late-rate registration fee is £845 after 20 February 2019. Employees of members of the conference association partners (Euro slag, National Slag Association, Slag Cement Association, Australasian (iron and steel) Slag Association, Nippon Slag Association and the Brazil Steel Institute) benefit from a £100 discount on these rates. Speakers register for £295, while confirmed producer/user speakers register free. The Global Slag Awards Dinner will take place on the evening of 21 April at the Palais Pallavicini in the heart of old Vienna and will be a spectacular operatic night not to be missed. The Global Slag Awards Dinner is bookable at a rate of £125, during registration.


14th Global CemFuels Conference & Exhibition on alternative fuels for cement and lime 2020

The Global CemFuels Conference and Exhibition has established itself as the largest specialized annual alternative fuels conference and exhibition in the world, attracting 150 – 200 international delegates and many exhibitors each year.

The 14th Global CemFuels event in Cyprus will showcase the best alternative fuels projects and equipment from the cement industry from around the world. Fuel mix optimization and combustion and pyro-process optimisation will be examined in depth. Delegates are expected to attend from more than 40 countries, to learn from experts how to start to use – or to increase their use of – alternative fuels. If your business is in alternative fuels for the cement and lime industry, then you must attend!

The registration fee includes attendance at the conference and exhibition, conference proceedings book including delegate names/company/country and all available powerpoint slides, memory stick including all available presentations in pdf format, participation in networking/speed-dating sessions, delegate name badge, special distribution magazine, conference briefcase, coffee breaks and snacks, lunches, welcome reception and farewell reception. In 2020, the registration fee also includes the Global CemFuels Awards Gala Dinner.

The conference early-bird registration fee is £795 until 5 July 2019 and the normal rate is £895 from 6 July until 20 December 2019. The conference late-rate registration fee is £995 from 21 December 2018. Fuels producers and users benefit from a £100 discount on these rates. Speakers who partner with a waste processor/cement producer (see Call for Papers) register at a discounted rate of £495, while confirmed fuels producer/user speakers (co-author or author) register free. Rates do not include local taxes, if applicable.

Note: If you are approached by any company to book rooms, they are trying to scam you! ONLY use the link on the Global CemFuels accomodation page to book your rooms!