Carib Cement to operate gypsum Halberstadt Quarry within a month
CARIBBEAN Cement Company hopes to start using a gypsum quarry that has been dormant for four decades, within a month.
The Halberstadt Quarry will supply the company's cement plant with the gypsum needed for the production of ordinary portland and blended cements.
The company has already received an environmental permit with stipulated conditions from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Of course, becoming operational is subject to receiving other necessary approvals such as a mining licence from the Commissioner of Mines.
"I really can't definitively say when we will start, but I hope to start within a month," said Anthony Haynes, general manager of Caribbean Cement.
Even so, the company has only about three months' supply of gypsum in its inventory that it has been using for cement production locally.
The overall objective is to also produce gypsum to meet the demand of its parent company, Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) Group.
There has been an uptick in cement sales locally, and Haiti has been doing well as an export market.
For the year ended December 31, 2013 the company posted $594.7 million in local cement sales up from $536.3 million in the corresponding period in the prior year or an 11 per cent increase, while export was six per cent higher during the year under review, up from $218.7 million year over year. The company improved its bottom line and posted a profit of $113.9 million, compared to a loss of $3.3 billion in the prior year.
Trinidad Cement currently meets a demand for 1.7 million tonnes of cement, and the gypsum content accounts for about five per cent or 90,000 tonnes of that, while Caribbean Cement contributes 45 per cent to the total group, Haynes told Caribbean Business Report.
More specifically, the one hectare of land at the Halberstadt Quarry is expected to produce 42,000 tonnes for export to Trinidad and Tobago as well as Barbados, while 48,000 tonnes would be for local use.
At these levels of production and based on the "proven" reserves, the life of the quarry is expected to be 33 to 50 years. An exploration drilling programme was conducted by NHL Engineering and based on the laboratory results, the average content of the gypsum there is approximately 52 per cent, according to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published last October
The Halberstadt Quarry is located towards the eastern boundary of St Andrew, less than a kilometre west of St Thomas, said the EIS. It is reportedly approximately 1.5 km north and 1.2 km northeast of Salt Spring and Bito, St Andrew, respectively.
The project will involve repair and modification of access roads to Halberstadt, including the Salt Spring and Benoa to Halberstadt roadways. Additionally, the Salt Spring parochial road will be reopened for the transport of material from the quarry to storage.
Haynes said the company has already started road development works, in collaboration with residents of the surrounding community, looking at drainage and settling plots. He now awaits final approval to begin extracting limestone.
He said: "Creating employment for people in neighbouring communities is a mission of the company and in everything we do, we involve them."
It is anticipated that the mining activities at Halberstadt will employ 40 people, including permanent, casual and contractual employees.