September 2006 saw the completion of a four-year project to improve Golden Bay Cement's Portland cement plant (near Whangarei). The redevelopment started in 2003, first by upgrading the kiln firing system, and then improving the clinker cooling and raw materials handling systems and installing closed circuit cement milling.

case study 1_photo2.jpgThe major upgrade programme has resulted in an increased capacity to meet the current and future cement demand of the local market. Clinker making capacity has risen from 1750 tonnes per day to 2600 tonnes per day, with an overall production capacity close to one million tonnes. This increased capacity will also offer the ability to look at developing further export opportunities, while ensuring the quality and consistency of cement manufactured at the Portland plant.

The upgrade programme was also undertaken to improve health and safety at the plant through the introduction of new work practices using modern technology. As part of the improvement process, a team of occupational experts was commissioned to systematically document all the plant’s standard operating procedures. A careful analysis of the collected data has greatly assisted in establishing best practice.

The plant is now performing to a more competitive level in terms of reliability and operational stability. The maintenance carried out will improve the collection of fugitive dust and reduce housekeeping requirements on site. The gas handling capacity of the kiln has been improved to reduce the visibility and volume of any adverse emissions affecting the environment, as well as improving the production process efficiency and minimising plant disruption.

Golden Bay Cement has reduced the cement plant’s environmental impact, and is making a product with many sustainable advantages in its end use.  The upgraded plant has fewer emissions and is more fuel-efficient: – a step in the right direction Towards Zero Harm.