The opening of the Caricom Cement Company Incorporated plant at Everton has been lauded by business leaders in Berbice, who say that the operation stands to benefit the county with jobs and income generation, while supporting housing development nationally.
The Caricom Cement Company Inc recently commissioned its new plant at Everton, Berbice and company chairman Dr Joshua Safeek announced its plans to sell cement at around $1,000 per sack from January, 2015.
The cost of constructing the plant is yet to be announced as tabulations are currently ongoing. The date of operation will also be announced later.
President of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association Mark Roopnarine told Stabroek News that he welcomes the plant. He called it a great initiative, since it would provide cement at affordable prices and at the same time, provide jobs.
President of the Central Corentyne Chamber of Com-merce Tajpaul Adjodhea added that since the plant would provide approximately 100 jobs, more money would be generated in the Berbice area. He also related that the low prices promised by the company would assist a lot in development as Guyana is currently experiencing a housing “boom.”
Asked how the company could sell cement at $1,000 per bag, the Chief Executive Officer Roshandeen Habibullah said it was because 40% of the materials used to make the cement would be of local origin.
He told Stabroek News earlier this week that all the clay needed in the manufacturing process would come from the low coastal plain, while pozzolan, which is a very important ingredient, will derive from rice husk which he explains is a by-product of burnt paddy shells.
As for limestone, the main ingredient, Habibullah explained that large quantities would be imported. He noted that although limestone is abundant at Shell Beach in Region One, “it cannot be touched” since the beach is protected by environmental laws and is a nesting ground for turtles.
At the commissioning, it was announced that the plant was the first completed cement manufacturing plant in the country and would have the capability to produce 500,000 metric tonnes per year, which would exceed Guyana’s annual demand for cement.
When asked about exportation options, Habibullah said that the company is currently looking at all available options. However, for now it is focusing on supplying the local market as well as satisfying the needs of the many government projects that are going on countrywide.
When asked about the systems being put in place to reduce pollution in the area when the plant goes into operation, he related that they have at their disposal, a “wet scrubber,” which he describes as a mechanism made up of a number of devices that will remove dust-like particles from the air. It will work as a “filter-like” system, he said.
Habibullah also boasted that the company is planning to enter into the steel industry. The plant has the capability, without making any major adjustments, to make calcium alumina cement, which is a main ingredient in steel industry.
He also mentioned that proppant, which is used to increase the recovery of oil, can also be manufactured by the plant. The proppant he explained, is a water- suspended material, which is used in a process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” to keep fissures open.