CEMEX to expand Naga plant production

Cement manufacturer CEMEX Philippines is allotting P2.5 billion for the expansion of its Naga plant and increase in production capacity from 2.5 million metric tons (MT) to four million MT per year. 

The investment, which covers the construction of the vertical mill, is reported to bring in an additional 1.5 million MT per year. Its construction is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2014.

The company will also be investing in terminals to improve its logistics system. 

“The expansion is our answer to the increasing demand for cement brought about by the continued rise of the Philippine market, specifically in the construction sector,” CEMEX APO Plant director Normandy Chan said on Wednesday.

Last year, Chan said the plant was able to produce two million MT or 50 million bags of cement. Given the growing demand for cement, the company is expecting to hit a production capacity of 2.2 million MT this year. 

“The firm is looking at a 10 percent growth this year,” Chan said.

The Philippine Constructors Association, Inc. (PCA) expects the construction industry to grow by eight percent or faster than the economy this year on the back of the rapid development in both public and private sector projects. 

Construction boom

It said the rollout of the Aquino administration’s private-public partnership projects (PPP) and the increased growth in the private sector’s real estate development, coupled with the low interest rate, sustained growth of tourism and BPO, and strong inflow of remittances are expected to result in a construction boom. 

Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) revealed that the construction sector grew by 14.4 percent last year, outpacing the 6.6 percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) that year.

The industry contributed P345 billion to the economy, higher than the P302 billion in 2011. The sector increased its share of the GDP to 5.5 percent last year from 5.1 percent in 2011. 

APO Plant sits on a 99-hectare property in Tina-an, City of Naga. The plant is currently the largest cement plant in the country and has the biggest clinker-loading facility in Southeast Asia.

Cement produced in the Naga plant include portland, pozzolan, marine, and masonry cement transported to various points in the country. 

Chan said they serve up to 15 percent of the cement production of the Naga plant to Luzon while the rest is shipped to Visayas and Mindanao.

Apart from expanding their capacity, Chan said they are also improving on their green practices.

“We are continuously looking for innovative and sustainable ways to do our operations. For example, our alternative fuel substitution in APO has reached as much as 22 percent in a span of only five years,” Chan stressed.

The firm is using waste plastic, used tires and rice husk among others as alternative fuels.

CEMEX Philippines is reported to be the first and only Filipino cement company to be awarded the Green Choice Seal, which is a voluntary eco-labeling initiative sponsored by the government. The program awards a company a seal of approval for environmentally preferred products or services. 

Its two plants limit any waste that comes as a result of producing products. The company said that whether it be excess or solid residue, the plants route these wastes and exhausts everything they can from it before it is discarded.

Community 

CEMEX has two cement plants in the country, the other one is Rizal Cement Company [Solid Cement Corporation] which was purchased in 1997. The APO plant was acquired two years after.

The APO plant said it maintains a healthy relationship with the local communities. 

According to Chan, their safety and health is the company’s top priority.

“We don’t want to compromise anybody because of our operations. And that is the reason behind our efforts to maintain safety inside the plant and to engage and educate their stakeholders around it,” he said. 

The plant employs 500 workers, including regular employees and contractors.

(This article was written by Katlene Cacho and was published in SunStar, 06 June 2013.)

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