Proposes an integrated approach for sustainable cement production.Combines three different techniques (CCS, SCMs and nanotechnology) of sustainable cement production.Maintains a synergy between sustainability and profitability.
The carbon footprint of cement industries has been a major environmental issue in recent decades. Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), use of Supplementary Cementing Materials (SCMs) as partial replacement to cement, and use of nanotechnology are some approaches that are being tested and practiced for reducing the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the cement industries. Each of these approaches, however, comes with their own limitations and the implementation in real industrial scenarios is yet a concern. This paper proposes an integrated approach where CO2 captured from cement plant will be utilized within the plant for producing nano calcium carbonate (CaCO3) for use in cement manufacturing process. This technology incorporates all the above three approaches and help cement industries produce sustainable, durable, and economical cement while reducing the CO2 emissions into the atmosphere: thus, leading towards green infrastructure and global environmental sustainability. Additionally, adoption of this technology ensures proper dispersion of nano materials thereby improving the performance of concrete. Further, this technology is economically attractive to cement industries as they will have a new product (nano CaCO3) with much higher cost than cement with potential of additional economic revenues.
Jambyl Cements Mynaral packing plant, where 1.5Mt of cement was bagged in 2018. Source: Vicat.The Stans are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.Figure 1: Production capacity shares of Kazakh cement producers. Source: Global Cement Directory 2020. Figure 3: Production capacity shares of Kyrgyz cement producers. Source: Global Cement Directory 2020.A fuel conveyor at United Cement Groups 1.3Mt/yr Kant Cement plant. Source: United Cement Group.HeidelbergCements 0.8Mt/yr integrated CaspiCement plant, Kazakhstan. Source: Kryzstof Burek, HeidelbergCement.
The Stans are five varied and vibrant nations - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - embarking on their fourth decade of independence. Here, Global Cement looks into this region where oil and ideology, technology and tradition and East and West meet and mix - with no small volume of cement.
Since Global Cement last wrote about Central Asia in January 2016, its five republics have been through a period of dynamic growth that has affected their cement industries in numerous ways. Some characteristic trends are:
This last development notwithstanding, the heterogeneous nature of the Kazakh, Kyrygz, Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek cement industries necessitates an evaluation of current production and the latest projects on a country-by-country basis, as we travel alphabetically through the region, starting - at the top - with Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan (population 18.3m) changed President for the first time in its history on 20 March 2019 when Kassym-Jomart Tokayev replaced Nursultan Nazarbayev. Astana, the capital city, was renamed Nur-Sultan in his honour. The nation is Central Asias economic powerhouse. In 2018, its per-capita GDP rose by 5.9% year-on-year to US$9810 from US$9250 in 2017.3 Kazakhstans major cash generator is its energy sector, and one energy source in particular: crude oil. Kazakhstans 3.9Bnt recoverable reserves are under constant exploration for new extraction points. Where there are oil wells, theres cement. Domestic demand grew to 8.9Mt/yr in 2019 (57% of production capacity) - up by 3.5% from 8.6Mt (58%) in 2018.
Consumption of Kazakh cement has a broader basis than just oil wells. Domestically, infrastructure development is a large and growing contributor to Kazakhstans 8.9Mt/yr demand. President Nursultan Nazarbayev introduced his Bright Path strategy towards sustainable economic growth on 11 November 2014. Massive infrastructure developments are planned under the US$9bn investment policy, including housing for 77,000 families and modernisation of transport and industry that includes 48,000km of new roads. Funding comes from the Kazakhstan National Fund, which in February 2018 had US$22.6bn of its approximately US$606bn assets frozen by a Belgian court for a non-payment to a foreign businessperson. Whether - and if so to what extent - this will hold up cement uptake remains to be seen.
Kazakhstan also exports cement. In the first half of 2019 Kazakhstan exported 0.87Mt of cement. 0.45Mt of this (52%) went to Uzbekistan - down by 5% year-on-year from 0.92Mt in the corresponding six months of 2018. In 2018 as a whole Kazakhstans cement exports were 1.90Mt.2
One market to which Kazakhstan has special access compared to the other four Stans is Russia. In 2011, Kazakhstan exported 4000t of cement to Russia and received 0.648Mt in cement imports, giving a net exchange of 0.644Mt/yr to Kazakhstan from Russia. By 2016, the figures had grown to 0.240Mt of cement exported to and 0.921Mt imported from Russia, with a net exchange of 0.681Mt/yr to Kazakhstan from Russia. The story, clearly, is one of regional growth - but growth that favours Russia. The imposition of import tariffs on Russian cement in Ukraine in May 2019 may lead Kazakhstan to become an increasingly attractive export target for its northern neighbour, which has in the past been accused of cement dumping.
In spite of growing production and export volumes, domestic demand growth would appear to be implacable. Kazakhstan was foremost among the 36 countries that imported cement from Iran, importing 11.4Mt during the eight months to 21 November 2019. In June 2019, Azerbaijan-based Norm Cement targeted Kazakhstan for 0.1Mt of its cement exports. This is probably only a small chunk of the domestic consumption that continues to evade Kazakhstans producers. The reason for this is the vastness of the country and the unsuitability of its transport infrastructure. The countrys largest city, Almaty (population 1.78m), is located 400km from the nearest cement plant. One side effect of Bright Path may be that it brings Kazakhstans cement producers and consumers closer together, realigning supply and demand along the new improved road and rail networks and away from the countrys borders and Caspian Sea ports.
Kazakhstans cement production capacity grew by 6% year-on-year to 15.7Mt/yr in 2019, shared between 12 plants, compared to 14.8Mt/yr between 11 in 2018. All are integrated and, as in the other four Central Asian former Soviet socialist republics, all pre-1991 plants were built and operated by the Soviet state.
Each one of Kazakhstans 12 cement plants is privately owned. Foreign-based companies, of which there are six, share a 67% majority of production capacity across eight plants. The remainder is controlled by four Kazakh firms with one plant each.
HeidelbergCement entered the market in November 2005 with its acquisition of the 1.5Mt/yr integrated Bukhtarma plant in Eastern Kazakhstan. In 2013 it succeeded in bringing the plants emissions in line with EU regulations following extensive modernisation across its four lines.
HeidelbergCement took over the 1.3Mt/yr integrated Shymkentcement plant in South Kazakhstan from 45% subsidiary Italcementi Group in August 2015, as part of the first stage of its acquisition of the latter which ended in total takeover on 20 October 2016. The plant - first commissioned in 1958 - has been capable of producing oil well cement since 2003. In early 2016, HeidelbergCement completed the replacement of the plants four active wet lines with a single dry line of the same capacity, at a total cost of US$80m.
Mangistau region in coastal western Kazakhstan hosts HeidelbergCements 0.8Mt/yr integrated CaspiCement plant; the only plant that HeidelbergCement itself built. The facility is unique in more ways than one. It is the only plant in Kazakhstan and one of only very few in the world to produce clinker from chalk, which it does in the same way as with limestone using the dry method. The US$220m facility is the only cement plant in western Kazakhstan, where it serves the oil and gas industries of all five nations on the Caspian Sea.
One producer in particular regularly puts Kazakhstan in the global cement news headlines. Steppe Cement - Kazakhstans largest endemic cement producer - is not incorporated in Kazakhstan, nor even Central Asia, but in Malaysia. It owns Central Asia Cement and Karcement, which jointly operate the 3.6Mt/yr-capacity integrated Karaganda plant in Karaganda region. The plant was commissioned in 1953 with two wet lines and now also has two dry lines as a result of a 1998 upgrade. The wet lines were mothballed in October 2014, since which time cement production has not risen above 1.8Mt/yr. Steppe Cements target for 2020 is a new packing plant capable of packing and palletising cement in 50kg or 1000kg bags at a rate of 1000 bags/hr, which it says will help realise production volumes of 2.0Mt/yr.
Steppe Cements 2019 revenues rose by 7.7% year-on-year to US$80.2m from US$74.4m in the corresponding period of 2018. Volumes fell year-on-year: down by 0.3% to just over 1.7Mt, corresponding to a pricing increase of 8.0% to US$46.7/t from US$43.3/t. In a country with apparent surplus and real capacity underutilisation, it will be interesting to see just how long this cement trend can continue.
The Global Cement Directory 2020 lists Standard Cements Karatau plants integrated capacity as 2.0Mt/yr, of which it utilised 1.0Mt in 2019. Standard Cement opened the plant in 2010 and commissioned a second dry line in 2015.
Jambyl Cement is another operator with discrepencies between capacity and production figures, though - unlike at Steppe Cements Karaganda plant - the apparent bottleneck is at the start rather than the end of the production process. The Global Cement Directory 2020 lists the capacity of its integrated Mynaral plant in Zhambyl region as 1.0Mt/yr. Indeed in 2018 it produced a record 1.1Mt/yr of clinker. However the picture shifts dramatically when we look at its cement production, which rose by 15% year-on-year to 1.5Mt from 1.3Mt in 2017. In its 2018 annual report, France-based majority owner Vicat attributed the increased cement volumes to the excellent industrial proficiency of the workforce. Additionally, 0.4Mt of clinker - possibly purchased from neighbouring Semey Cement - and a grinding mill in reserve facilitated this development.
Vicats 9.2% year-on-year increase in sales in the first half of 2019 in Kazakhstan received a boost from strong price growth, resulting in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) growth of 50% year-on-year to US$13.3m from US$8.64m in the first half of 2018. Vicat holds 60% of Jambyl Cement and the remaining 40% is Kazakh-owned, belonging to Kazkommerts Invest.
Like Steppe Cement, United Cement Group (UCG) is a Central Asian cement producer that is based elsewhere. Headquartered in Nicosia, Cyprus, it joins HeidelbergCement and Vicat as the third EU-based producer that operates in Kazakhstan. UCG subsidiary Semey Cement has supplied the Kazakh market with cement from its Semey plant in East Kazakhstan since 1958 and was one of UCGs first acquisitions following the latters incorporation in 2005. An upgrade in March 2015 gave the plant a cement capacity of 1.0Mt/yr across four wet lines. In a literal realisation of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Semey plants cement is mainly used in road construction.
Kazakhcement commissioned its Shar plant near Charsk, East Kazhakstan, with a single 1.0Mt/yr dry line in 2012. In December 2018 Rudnensky Cement entered production at its 0.6Mt/yr integrated plant in northern Kostanay region, fitted with China National Materials Group (Sinoma) and Russia-based StroyMehanika equipment. Lastly, Basic Element Group (BasEl), a Russian conglomorate, operates a 0.4Mt/yr integrated white cement plant with two wet lines in Sastobe, South Kazakhstan via its subsidiary Sastobe White Cement.Kazakhstans production capacity received a boost in October 2019 with Chinese government-owned China Gezhouba Group (CGG)s subsidiary Gezhouba Shieli Cements inauguration of its 0.9Mt/yr Shieli plant, in which locally-based Danake has a minority stake. The US$178m plant is in the southern Kyzylorda region. The plant was Chinese-built, by China Triumph International Engineering, and employs a staff of 260 Kazakhs. Its major product is oil well cement. CGG chairman Li Ming thanked the Kazakh government for its current and future support of the plants construction and operation, saying, The alignment of Chinas Belt and Road Initiative and Kazakhstans Bright Path economic policy brings great prospects for the China-Kazakhstan cement plant. CGC is currently engaged in the construction of a 480MW hydroelectric power plant in eastern Kazakhstan, scheduled for completion by 2024.4
In July 2015, Singapore-based International Cement Group announced its production and distribution joint venture with a local private businessperson, based around an upcoming integrated cement plant in Almaty region. In mid-2018, the company said that the plant would be completed by 2020.
Turkey-based Dal Holding Investments announced a similar undertaking in February 2019. Its joint venture with the Aktobe region Chamber of Entrepreneurs is aimed at the construction of a 1.8Mt/yr integrated plant, a project it valued at US$270m. Dal Holding Investments, which also holds mining contracts, is a player in Kazakhstans agriculture sector.A third long-awaited production facility is Huaxin Cements 1.0Mt/yr integrated Aktobe plant. Consisting of a single dry line and expected to cost US$150m, the project last graced the pages of Global Cement Magazine in October 2015, when it was scheduled to commence by 2016. In February 2020 no developments have followed, suggesting that Chinas number 13 producer is focusing on other areas of expansion, including Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Other developments to look forward to are Kokshe Cements 2.0Mt/yr integrated Zaozernoe plant - which will implement FLSmidth technology - and BI-Cements 1.1Mt/yr integrated Akmola plant, both in Akmola region. Lastly, Nur Cement plans to establish an integrated plant and quarry near Shymkent, South Kazakhstan, for which it has leased sites and contracted Kazakh engineers for installation. On 2 February 2020 Nur Cement said that it had secured 70% of required funding from a local bank and would have the remainder within 28 days.
If all projects come to fruition, Kazakhstan will command 21.6Mt/yr of capacity, all integrated. Plants like Jambyl Cements Myneral plant give it a grinding capacity in excess of this, if clinker imports can be sourced economically.
Two thirds of cement capacity is foreign-owned and here, as in other industries, foreign investment will underpin future growth. In January 2020 President Tokayev visited the United Arab Emirates, which is a major consumer of cement, including oil well cement.
With the governments 2013 commitment to 50% renewable energy by 2050, Kazakhstans cement demand is shifting. Oil well cement is also suitable for the uranium industry, but volumes would be limited. Infrastructure developments should continue to demand Kazakh cement.
Both Chinas Belt and Road Initiative and its own Bright Path appear to lead to the same destination for Kazakhstan: improved living standards and the infrastructure to support these, facilitating the demand for and distribution of an increasing supply of cement.
Precious metal and agricultural exports form the bulwarks of the Kyrgyz economy. In spite of the growth of these sectors through Kyrgyzstans slow transition into a market economy since its accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on 20 December 1998, per-capita GDP in 2018 was just US$1280 - up by 3.2% year-on-year from US$1240 in 2017 - with 22% (1.39m) of the 6.32m population living under the poverty line.6 Cement is a relatively small contributor to the Kyrgyz economy, but is poised for growth as the country seeks to diversify its sources of income. The Kyrgyz cement industry is partly state-owned, in an impoverished country characterised by corruption.
Much of the cement produced in Kyrgyzstan is for export: 0.15Mt in the first quarter of 2019 out of the 0.35Mt it produced (43%). Due to the countrys weak currency, this can be sold at knock-down prices, as in February 2019, when Global Cement reported that the Kyrgyz Antimonopoly Agency had intervened in a case of cement dumping across the Tajik border. In May 2019 the Uzbek government announced a ban on imports of Kyrgyz cement.
Kyrgyzstan also imports cement (39,000t in the first quarter of 2019), and it need look no further than Central Asia for a ready supply. In 2018 - when Kazakh consumption declined by 5% year-on-year - Jambyl Cement reported that the Kyrgyz market gave growth to its sales.7 On 27 February 2017, after Kyrgyzstan joined the Russian-centred Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the State Committee for Industry, Energy and Mining blamed high volumes of imported cement from Kazakhstan for making Kyrgyz production uncompetitive. Kyrgyzstan imported 0.1Mt of cement from Tajikistan in 2019.
Leading cement production in Kyrgyzstan is Cyprus-based United Cement Group (UCG), which operates two integrated cement plants with a total capacity of 1.7Mt/yr.The larger of the two is the Kant Cement plant in Chui region, which can produce up to 1.3Mt/yr. State-owned Novorosgiprocement established the plant with five lines in 1964 and it has undergone numerous upgrades both before and after its 2005 acquisition by UCG. Most recently these included the installation of a Unitherm Cemcon combination burner from Austria on 5 July 2018 and of a Russian Vselug Turbo K8 filling machine as part of a new packing plant on 1 October 2019. As a result the three types of cement produced at the plant can now be bagged in 25kg and 50kg bags. Kant Cement is planning the addition of a big-bag packing line and the modification of kilns to also burn coal as an alternative to natural gas.
Kirgizgropromproyect built the 0.4Mt/yr TechnoLin plant in Kant, Chui, in 1975 and its two lines underwent a decades downtime prior to the plants acquisition by UCG in 2005. The company invested US$8m modernising the plant, which now produces several cements, including oil well cements and a sulphate-resistant cement. The plant is undergoing an upgrade, which will enable its kilns to switch between gas and coal fuel in the space of five hours. Currently both kilns burn gas.
South Kyrgyz Cement (YKC)s 1.0Mt/yr Tashkumgyr, Osh, plant entered operation in May 2010 with a total investment value of US$90m, two thirds of which came from the state coffers. The China-based Tianjin Cement Industry Design & Research Institute (TDI) was responsible for the development and installation of the single lines dry kiln. On 8 February 2019 the Kyrgyzstan Antimonopoly Agency fined YKC for exporting cement for sale at a price below local market value. The choice of location for the plant and the 550 jobs it provides near the second city of Osh was not without controversy due to the relative wealth of the region. On 13 September 2018 a minister from the ruling Social Democratic Party (SDPK) spoke in parliament in favour of establishing a cement plant in the neighbouring Batken region.
The Osh region also hosts Aravan Cements 0.8Mt/yr Aravan plant, which entered production in September 2008 with a capacity of 0.2Mt/yr and had its second line officially opened by Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov on 5 November 2018 following a US$88m upgrade. The plant uses the semi-dry method across both of its lines.
Zeth Cement, a 58:42 joint venture between China-based Tongling Shangfeng and Zhu Rongjun, had the commissioning of its 1.0Mt/yr integrated Kemin plant in Chui region, which has been under construction since mid-2014, delayed in January 2019 when no power supply for the US$120m plant could be secured. The investors had proceeded with construction without first contracting with an energy company to supply electricity to future operations. On 23 January 2019, Global Cement reported that construction of the Kemin plant was complete. In response to the problem, the Kyrgyz government formed a working group in December 2018.
Issyk-Kul region is the proposed location of a 0.8Mt/yr single-line integrated cement plant belonging to Jinglong Group, to which end the China-based company has formed a subsidiary called Yatai Cement. When it announced the project on 1 September 2015, Jinlong Group valued it at an investment of US$65m, for US$50m of which it sought extra project financing. The plant promises 400 jobs to the region.
The region of Osh was tipped to receive its third cement plant on 27 May 2015 when China-based Gansu Qilianshan Cement and the Metallurgical Corporation of China signed a memorandum of understanding with a Kyrgyz company for the construction of an integrated cement plant in Aravan. Ownership was to be shared between the Chinese and Kyrgyz parties on an 80:20 basis. Given the US$130m proposed investment, we may assume that such a plant, should it one day materialise, is likely to be integrated.
The projects discussed above would augment Kyrgyzstans cement production capacity with at least an extra 2.8Mt/yr, bringing it to over 8.2Mt/yr. This would make it a significant cement producer and one with a capacity vastly in excess of its construction sectors needs.
This situation may change in the near future due to a policy-led increase in domestic demand. State Agency for Architecture, Construction, Housing and Communal Services deputy chair Mirbek Akmataliyev announced a 10-year construction industry development strategy on 23 January 2020, which aims to reduce corruption and attract foreign investment by increasing state funding and reforming licencing procedures.
Exports are another way in which capacity expansion may be proven a timely investment by Kyrgyz cement producers. Kyrgyzstan has options beyond just its four fellow EEU members (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia).
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev called this figure not satisfactory, noting the diversity of the Iranian economy, the lynchpin of which - the oil industry - generates a huge demand for cement. Irans infrastructure and access to the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman moreover make it an obvious means by which Kyrgyz cement can establish itself on the global market.
Central Asias smallest country by area has a population of 9.10m and a per-capita GDP of US$827. Tajikistans population is largely rural and impoverished and an estimated 1.0m Tajiks live and work abroad, predominantly in Russia, on a temporary basis, contributing some 47% of Tajikistans per-capita GDP in remittances.8
Tajikistans economy is centrally controlled. In 2019 it produced 4.2Mt of cement, up by 11% year-on-year from 3.8Mt in 2018. It exported 1.55Mt, up by 11% year-on-year from 1.4Mt. In 2018 Uzbekistan received 64% of Tajikistans cement exports (0.89Mt).Afghanistan received 41% (0.58Mt) and Kyrgyzstan received 5.8% (80,000t).
Tajikistans installed cement capacity is 3.4Mt/yr. Three integrated plants have a total capacity of 2.1Mt/yr and a single grinding plant has a capacity of 1.2Mt/yr. A significant volume of Tajik building materials is currently tied up in the construction of more cement plants: six integrated plants with a total capacity of 5.5Mt/yr are expected to raise the countrys capacity by 163% to 8.9Mt/yr.
Before 2013 Tajikistan had just one integrated cement plant: Asbestos Pipe Factorys 1.1Mt/yr Duschanbe plant in the capital city of Dushanbe in the central Districts of Republican Subordination (DRS) region. Tajikcement took over the plant, which has four 600t/day and two 300t/day wet lines, in 2012.
Tajikistans growing cement demand from such infrastructure projects as Roghun hydroelectric power plant in the DRS region led to the construction of the 0.1Mt/yr B. Samadov cement plant in Sughd region.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the Belt and Road Initiative in September 2013, one Chinese company was already active in Tajik cement production. Huaxin Cement subsidiary Huaxin Zhongya Investment formed a 75:25 joint venture with Tajik construction materials company Gayur LLC and entered production at the 1.0Mt/yr Yovon cement plant in Khatlon region in August 2013 following an investment of US$110m. Huaxin Cement says that plant created 1000 jobs for locals.
Huaxin Cement and Gayur LLCs subsidiary Toj-China entered production at its Vahdat grinding plant in April 2015 with a capacity of 0.6Mt/yr, while the installation of a second mill brought this to 1.2Mt/yr shortly thereafter. Of the US$30m invested in the project, 77% (US$23m) came from the Chinese partner and 23% (US$7m) from the Tajik.
Huaxin Cement and Gayur LLC have two ongoing projects together. They first began construction of the 1.2Mt/yr integrated Chjuntsay-Taboshar Cement plant in Danghara, Khatlon in 2014. When finished, it will be Tajikistans largest. Also in 2014 it began work on the 0.6Mt/yr, US$30m Ghafur cement plant in Ghafur, DRS.
Between 2011 and 2016 Tajikistan was the subject of four further new cement plant announcements. Two of these came from Chinese companies. Huaxin Cement announced that it would directly build and operate a 1.0Mt/yr-capacity integrated plant in Ghayurov, Sugdh, in 2015. That same year, China-based Shangfeng signalled an intention to set up a 1.2Mt/yr plant in Kurganqiu, Khatlon region. However in May 2016 it said that the failure to conclude a licencing arrangement with the Tajik government had suspended developments.9 The 0.5Mt/yr Vahdat, DRS, plant is the result of a private Tajik-Chinese joint venture and has been in the project phase for six years.
Tajikistan is a developing country ideally situated to catch the east wind of infrastructure invesment blowing over the region. It has augmented its position with tax concessions for large Chinese investors in the cement sector. Seven years on, only Huaxin Cement has invested and it remains to be seen whether others will follow. Although politically stable, Tajikistan may simply be too resource-poor and undeveloped for producers without Huaxins resources, as was evidenced in 2012 when natural gas shortages brought cement production to a halt.
Turkmenistan had a population of 5.58m and a per-capita GDP of US$6970 in 2018, up by 5.8% year-on-year from US$6590 in 2017. Its economy is notable for its reliance on natural gas, of which Turkmenistan has the worlds fourth largest reserves.10 The country has undertaken huge infrastructure projects in the past 10 years, and the exclusion of foreign competitors to the domestic cement industry has been a policy aim. The governments strategy first showed itself in a ban on Iranian cement imports in early 2013. On 8 July 2013 President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov signed a resolution imposing a 100% duty on imported cement, with a minimum tariff of US$200/t, into force. Turkmenistan now has a highly active cement industry whose 5.1Mt/yr all-integrated capacity is split between state (2.7Mt/yr) and private (2.4Mt/yr) ownership.
The Turkmen cement industry consists of two producers. Former President Saparmurat Niyazov decreed the incorporation of state-owned Turkmencement on 4 March 2005 following an increase to the countrys wealth due to improved oil and gas prices, increased exports and the completion of its short-term debt repayments.
Turkmencements initial production capacity was 1.7Mt/yr across two integrated plants in Ashgabat region: its 1.0Mt/yr Bezmeinskiy plant in Bezmein and its 0.7Mt/yr Kelete plant in Kelete, both of which produced cement using the wet method.
The governments Programme for Development of Construction and Industrial Sectors in 2012 - 2016, under which it established 220 industrial facilities including a gas pipeline spanning Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, intensified demand on existing cement plants and led to the construction of an entirely new one. Turkmencement commissioned the 1.0Mt/yr integrated Lebap plant in Koytendag, Lebap region in mid-2015, bringing the companys installed capacity to 2.7Mt/yr.
Although visas are practically impossible to obtain for tourists, Turkmenistan is more welcoming to foreign businesses seeking investment opportunities. One such business is Turkish construction giant Polimeks. The company holds a monopoly on construction of state monumental architecture and used its cement in such projects as the Arch of Neutrality, the Television Tower, the Monument to the Constitution and the base of the Ashgabat Flagpole, as well as government buildings and national sports facilities. It entered Turkmen cement production in 2011 with the commissioning of two plants: the 1.4Mt/yr integrated Lebap plant in Garlyk, Lebap region, and the 1.0Mt/yr integrated Jebel plant in Jebel, Balkan region.Polimeks Lebap plant produced over 0.7Mt of cement in the first half of 2019 it, putting it on track for full capacity utilisation of 1.4Mt in 2019, up by 49% from its 2018 production total of 0.94Mt. Over the six months to 30 June 2019 Polimeks exported 27% (0.2Mt) of the cement produced at the plant, primarily to Uzbekistan.
The Jebel plant is the only cement plant in Turkmenistans western Balkan province, from which it serves the entire Caspian Sea region with ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and oil well cement. The plant recently diversified its products, producing its first batch of sulphate-resistant cement on 25 January 2020.
On 21 November 2019 Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov instructed the Ministry of Industry and Communications that foreign investment must be found for three new integrated cement plant projects. Berdimuhamedov explained that the undertaking would jointly aim to meet domestic demand and increase exports.
The discovery of between 70Mt and 75Mt of iron ore in Balkan province on 25 November 2019 may provide a ready local source of clinker consituents that will reduce production costs for Polimeks by as much as US$10m/yr.
Uzbekistans 2018 population of 33.0m - up by 1.8% from 32.4m in 2017 - exceeds that of all four other Stans put together. At 12.9Mt/yr, it has the second-smallest cement capacity proportional to population size: 3900kg/capita compared to 9100kg/capita in Turkmenistan, 8600kg/capita in Kazakhstan, 5700kg/capita in Kyrgyzstan and 3700kg/capita in Tajikistan.Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev is a reformer who since coming to power in December 2016 has sought to tackle such issues as slavery and child labour and released a majority of dissidents and journalists imprisoned under previous President Islam Karimov. Mirziyoyevs Revolution from Above also consists of economic reforms aimed at better enabling the country to profit from its extensive natural resources.
Uzbekistan has a healthy construction sector, which completed projects worth US$61.4bn between 1 January 2019 and 30 November 2019 - an increase of 12% year-on-year from US$51.2bn in the first 11 months of 2018. On the whole, Uzbekistan is a net cement importer, importing US$150m-worth in January - November 2019, up by 12% from US$130m over the corresponding period of 2018.
Currently, cement importers receive tariff concessions, but on 9 May 2019 the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade advised the government to abolish this arrangement to support domestic producers. This coincided with the announcement of several cement plant projects and the entry into the Uzbek market of more than one major global cement player. Uzbekistans is the fastest-growing cement production capacity in the region and is transitioning into 100% private ownership.
The State Committee of Uzbekistan for Ecology and Environmental Protection implemented air pollution monitoring stations at all 13 of Uzbekistans cement plants on 22 January 2020 at the expense of producers. Five plants exceeded international dust emission norms. Based on the results, the committee drafted a government decree on strengthening environmental controls over cement plants.
Qiziliqumcement operates Central Asias largest cement plant: the 3.4Mt/yr integrated Qizilqum cement plant in Navoi, Bukhara. A clinker capacity-increasing upgrade worth US$110m has been underway since 28 March 2019 and is due to be finished in 2020. On 2 May 2019 President Mirziyoyev approved the sale of the governments 40% stake in Qizilqumcement to a private foreign investor.
Almalyk Mining and Metallurgical Complex (AMMC) operates two 1.5Mt/yr integrated plants: the Jarkurgan plant in Surkhandarya region and the Zafarabad plant in Jizzakh region. The latter has a grey cement capacity of 1.0Mt/yr, with the remaining 0.5Mt/yr dedicated to white cement production. White cement is increasingly an export product. In the first half of 2019 AMMC shipped 1600t of white cement to Tajikistan, 1280t to Kyrgyzstan, 512t to Kazakhstan and 147t to Turkmenistan. On 28 March 2019 the Zafarabad plant shipped a trial consignment of 1000t of OPC by rail to Afghanistan, where it was received by construction company Hamid Company in Mazar-i-Sharif. Following the successful trial, AMMC announced that it would commence with the dispatch of 0.5Mt/yr of cement to Afghanistan. Both plants together exported 28,000t of cement products in the period, at a total value of US$1.60m.
Russia-based Eurocements subsidiary Akhangarancements Akhangaran cement plant has a capacity of 2.0Mt/yr across its two wet lines, however this is all set to change in 2020. Eurocement has announced that construction is underway on a new 3.0Mt/yr plant consisting of two dry lines, for which 4500t of machinery has been delivered to the site, including Wikov gearboxes for the rotary kilns and three Gebr. Pfeiffer mills: two MVR 5000 C-4 clinker grinding mills and an MVR 5000 R-4 raw materials grinding mill. Upon opening in 2020, the 5.0Mt/yr plant will form the basis of a building materials cluster, according to the company.
Two UCG subsidiaries operate integrated plants in Uzbekistan. Quvasaycement operates the 0.9Mt/yr integrated Quvasay cement plant in Fergana region, which dates to 1932. It produces six different cements across its four wet lines, in addition to gypsum wallboard and ceramic tiles. Bekabadcements 0.7Mt/yr integrated Bekabad cement plant in Syrdarya region predates the Kuvasay plant by six years. Founded in 1926 with a capacity of 25,000t/yr, it is Uzbekistans oldest industrial enterprise. It underwent expansion to three wet lines before being acquired by UCG in 1995. Its raw materials come from Tajikistan and it sells its cement of four different grades in Tashkent and Tashkent region, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. It is undergoing a packaging plant upgrade to enable it to bag cement in 1000kg as well as 50kg bags.
UCG also operates Uzbekistans sole dedicated grinding plant, the 1.0Mt/yr Yangi-Yul grinding plant in Tashkent, which it commissioned in July 2010. The plant is fitted with China CAMC Engineering equipment, installed by local contracting firm Parma.
Surkhoncementinvest, a multinational based outside of Uzbekistan, announced on 18 October 2019 that it had commissioned a 1.1Mt/yr integrated cement plant in Surkhandarya region worth US$144m and installed with Austrian, Chinese, German and Russian equipment. It will produce cement mostly for export. Surkhoncementinvest says that a second development phase will follow in 2020.
The newest addition to Uzbekistans cement production capacity is Shaanxi Xiangshengs 0.9Mt/yr single-line integrated plant in Fergana region, commissioned on 15 January 2020 as part of a US$113m project. The Chinese company scheduled project completion for May 2020 with the completion of a second line of the same capacity.
Karakalpak Cement has a capacity of 0.5Mt/yr at its integrated Karakalpak plant in the Karakalpakstan republic. This is the result of the first of three planned stages of a 1.2Mt/yr integrated cement plant project consisting of three dry lines, due for completion in 2018. The Uzbek-Chinese joint venture, which produces Titan brand cement, has yet to advance to phase two of the development.
Uzbek-German partnership UTD Holding is set to enter Uzbek production as the market leader with the completion of its 5.0Mt/yr integrated Farish, Jizzakh, plant, scheduled for 2021. UTD Holding subsidiary UTD Cement will use limestone from its quarry in nearby Almaz to produce up to 4.0Mt/yr of grey cement and 1.0Mt/yr of white cement.
Shangfeng Cement announced on 30 September 2015 that it would invest US$137m from a non-public share offering in the construction of a 1.2Mt/yr integrated plant in the Andijan region. The plant, which is to have a clinker capacity of 3200t/day, has not materialised in mid-February 2020.
Two new Chinese players entered the country in 2019. Anhui Conch subsidiary Qarshi Conch announced on 14 May 2019 that it had begun work on a 1.2Mt/yr integrated cement plant in Kashkadarya region in early 2019. The plant will enter production in December 2020 and cost US$150m. Meanwhile Huaxin Cement is also investing US$150m in the construction of a 1.5Mt/yr integrated cement plant in Zafarabad, Jizzakh region. Work began on 17 May 2019 and is scheduled for completion in March 2020. On 5 February 2019 Global Cement reported that the government granted full tax exemption to Huaxin Cement in order to attract its investment.
Uzbekistans cement production growth typifies developments in the region. Development and population growth are driving a cement demand which will soon be outstripped by production. Given that some plants already produce the majority of their cement for export, the question of what Uzbekistan will do with all this cement is pertinent.
In January 2019 Reuters suggested that China was exporting overcapacity.11 A cause of this in the cement industry in particular is the polluting nature of its work. Chinas pollution regulations are now tighter than those of Central Asian countries. Chinese producers seeking to save on carbon credits and avoid a China Cement Association (CCA) overcapacity crackdown aimed at closing 400Mt/yr of production capacity between 2016 and 2020 (which in mid-February 2020 has not yet happened) are naturally compelled to cross the countrys western borders. While some cement firms, notably Chinese producers, are happy to operate in the Stans, the relative difficulty of doing business currently deters many others.
Integration will be a key theme for the Stans in the coming decade, but there are several possible obstacles. Kyrgyzstans cement exports to Uzbekistan will have been blocked for a year in May 2020. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan already have a trading bloc: the EEU. Events in the bloc, such as the tightening of fellow EEU member Belarus import licencing laws, may have a knock-on effect on competitiveness.
Given the speed of change in this region, the picture painted here can only be a snapshot, especially in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Massive foreign investment is the driving force behind cement production growth but the question is increasingly: where will be found a demand to match?
1. freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/20192. United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 72/283, 22 June 2018.3. data.worldbank.org4. Yicai Global, China Gezhouba Group to Build USD1.5 billion Kazakh Hydro Project, 13 December 2018.6. Kyrgyzstan National Statistical Committee, Poverty Report 2018, 14 June 2019.7. Vicat, Annual Report 2018, 11 April 2019.8. worldpopulationreview.com9. China Securities Journal, Announcement of Gansu Shangfeng Cement Co., Ltd. on the Termination of the Companys Non-public Issuance of Stocks, 5 May 2016.10. BP, Statistical Review of World Energy, 21 June 201911. Reuters, Shuttered at home, cement plants bloom along Chinas new Silk Road, 30 January 2019.
Cement is the most produced material around the world. Developing countries face a growth of population involving an increasing need of infrastructures. Due to this situation, the cement industry needs to find the best comprise between increasing the cement production and without increasing the negative environmental impact. A promising solution has been found in the use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCM), these materials are used to replace clinker in cement because of their pozzolanic reactivity. In this paper, a method was developed to assess the details of the economic and environmental potential of the specific Limestone Calcined Clays Cement LC3 technology in the Cuban context. A comparison with traditional Portland cement and the current commercial blended cement with zeolite (PPC) sold in Cuba was made. The results provide evidenced based data for the development of a strategy to adopt the LC3 technology by the Cuban market. This assessment method can then be easily extended to markets in other developing countries.