It is not business as usual for AfriSam, who has been working hard towards reducing its impact on the environment for many years. Since 1990, this leading supplier of construction materials has reduced its C02 emissions by 35 percent. But this, according to Hannes Meyer, cementitious executive at AfriSam, is not where it ends.
Reducing energy usage
Speaking at a presentation to media at its Dudfield cement plant near Lichtenburg in the North-West province, Meyer said AfriSam continues to cut the carbon footprint of its cement. Efforts focus on using less energy in the production of clinker, while making more use of extenders like fly-ash and slag.
‘We are probably South Africa’s leading company in our understanding and application of extenders in cement,’ he says. He emphasises that this field holds great scope for creating more environmentally friendly cements, but required considerable technical expertise. With its many years of experience, AfriSam was applying that expertise in its ongoing cement innovation.
Limestone mining at Dudfield began in 1949, with the first kiln established in 1965. Today, the plant produces over a million tons of clinker on its Kiln 3 plant to meet market demands. The plant has a cement production capacity of over 1.3 million tons. The plant also has the flexibility to supply bulk cement by both road and rail, as well as its own bagged cement. There are 65 years of proven limestone reserves on AfriSam Dudfield’s 3 608 ha mining licence.
Energy saving strategies
AfriSam invests constantly in energy saving strategies at its cement plants. Since 1990, it has achieved a cumulative reduction of 31 percent of cement-specific thermal consumption, measured in megajoules per tonne of cement.
Meyer highlighted the potential of the new carbon tax – in force from 1 June 2019 – to incentivise energy-saving innovation.
‘The depressed state of the economy has dampened many of industry’s good ideas, and if carbon tax revenues could cover industry incentives, the resulting innovations would have a range of positive spin-offs. Apart from easing demand on Eskom’s grid, this would also contribute toward the country’s Paris Agreement obligations,’ Meyer says.
AfriSam’s commitment was clear to see, he said, being the country’s first cement manufacturer to equip all its kilns with bag filters. This brought emissions to below even the European standard of 30 mg/m3.