The cement industry’s impacts on the environment are largely attributed by the materials used in the manufacturing of cement. The ACMP is assisting members in finding solutions to the challenges faced by the industry, especially with regards to reducing its environmental footprint. One of the significant challenges facing the cement industry is to find ways to reduce the mining of both primary raw material (limestone) and secondary components such as oxides of silica, alumina and iron. All are core ingredients in the manufacturing of cement but represent an ongoing use of what are essentially finite resources in South Africa.
Using alternatives as compared to raw materials contribute to meaningful reductions in CO2 emissions. Alternatives (such as gypsum, limestone, fly ash, and slag) to raw materials (clinker) also contain mineral components which lead to the production of blended cements with important diversified properties. Other secondary materials used by various members include synthetic gypsum, flue gas desulphurisation gypsum (FDG), waste bricks, tionite, and magnetite. Blended cement qualities also provide improved workability, durability and density in concrete products, which further reduces the impact mining activities on the environment.
Natural versus Secondary Materials
As production processes improve, less natural resources will be used through substitution of waste materials from other industrial processes, ultimately reducing waste to landfill, whilst simultaneously recovering the energy content of the materials. ACMP members are making progress in developing cement products that are less reliant on natural materials. Figure 2 below represents the extent of natural material replacement by our members.
Figure 2: Natural versus Secondary Material Use
The ratio of secondary materials (secondary plus secondary materials used as extenders) versus natural materials (natural plus natural materials used as extenders) increased from 2012 to 2013 post a decrease in the prior year. The availability of such materials in the market is however a key factor influencing this ratio.
To ensure sound sustainable development pracice amongst our members, the ACMP has embraced the following policy to inform the use of alternate fuels and resource
secondary materials or afr policy
The cement making process is energy and material intensive. Traditionally, fossil fuels and natural raw materials have been used to make clinker, the main ingredient in cement. To operate their businesses in a more environmentally, economically and socially beneficial way, the undersigned members of the ACMP are increasingly using “Secondary Materials “or “Alternative Fuels and Resources” (AFR) that are non-traditional for clinker and cement production. These Secondary materials or AFR allow for the recovery of both energy and material from selected by-products thus conserving non-renewable natural sources. To achieve these benefits in a responsible way, the members of the ACMP will apply this policy. Its purpose is to govern their behaviour when using these Secondary Materials (AFR).
Principle I: When using AFR we strive to ensure occupational health & safety
a) We will provide data sheets, equipment, training, controls, procedures, health monitoring, facility design, emergency response planning, and other precautionary measures to ensure the health & safety of all our employees and the communities we operate in.
b) We will provide relevant safety information to our sub-contractors and visitors to our premises.
Principle II: When using AFR we strive to keep our environment safe
a) Our use of AFR must contribute to the preservation of natural resources, and to the reduction of the global environmental impact.
b) We will not increase the overall impact of our emissions beyond that due to the use of traditional natural resources.
c) We will not control volatile heavy metals.
d) We will ensure that our effluents do not degrade the water quality.
e) Storage and handling of AFR will be done in a manner to prevent spillage, leaching, fugitive dust, volatiles, odours, and noise.
Principle III: When using AFR we will refuse the listed “banned wastes”
Anatomical Hospital Waste / Asbestos-containing Wastes / Bio-Hazardous Wastes / Electronic Scrap / Entire Batteries / Explosives / High-concentration Cyanide Wastes / Mineral Acids / Radioactive Wastes / Unsorted Municipal Garbage.
The signatories of this document will refuse the aforementioned wastes as AFR for one or more of the following reasons: health & safety issues; to promote adherence to the waste management hierarchy; other treatment options or processes must be used.
Principle IV: When using AFR we will guarantee the quality of our products
a) We will ensure that our product quality remains within specifications.
Principle V: When using AFR we will act as a partner offering waste management solutions to society
a) We will take the initiative, when appropriate, to cooperate with the authorities to develop environmentally, economically and socially sound waste-management solutions.
b) When using waste that do not contribute either energy or material, their disposal in our cement kilns must be the best available South African solution.
Principle VI: When using AFR we will comply with the relevant regulations and promote best practices
a) We will obtain permits and will comply with their conditions.
b) We will promote best practices and EU standards even where local regulations od not exist.
c) We will assess the health & safety and environmental risks prior to using AFR, even where the regulations or authorities do not request it.
Principle VII: When using AFR we will communicate transparently
a) We will ensure transparent communication about all relevant aspects of AFR utilisation.
b) Our message will be consistent to all stakeholders and relevant to our relationships with them.
We will speak with and listen to our stakeholders, from the beginning, when developing AFR initiatives