Lafarge South Africa is one of the major cement producers in Southern Africa and a subsidiary of the international Lafarge Group, which is not only the world leader in building materials but also a leader in its industry for sustainable development. The production of cement is a high energy, high greenhouse gas emission process. The Group has for many years transparently put into effect a wide spectrum programme of actions to reduce the environmental impact of its manufacturing and products, as well as promoting sustainable development in general.
The focus of future sustainable development is on the accelerating global trend to urbanisation, which is especially strong in South Africa, and the need to provide solutions for building better cities. Lafarge South Africa is in the unique position to create more housing in cities, more compact cities, more durable cities, better connected cities, and more beautiful cities, through having a strong presence in all its construction related business lines: cement, aggregates, readymix and plasterboard. This same expertise developed for cities, will also continue to improve development of South Africa's rural towns and villages, the cities of the future.
Lafarge South Africa is also actively concerned for the conservation of the country's wildlife heritage. As a major supporter of the world's first dedicated baby rhino orphanage in Limpopo Province, the company donates a portion of the proceeds from sales of its environmentally-friendly Buildcrete cement to the orphanage.
Helping to build better cities
Lafarge South Africa's premium technical cement, Powercrete Plus, and the innovative self-compacting AgiliaTM Vertical readymix concrete were used to construct the Fulton Award winning building, The Podium at Menlyn in Pretoria. These products have helped make this landmark building more beautiful and durable in keeping with our capital city.
An important example of an effective response to the trend for urbanisation is the 75 000 m² super-regional Mall of the North retail development, which is providing the residents of Polokwane in Limpopo with top-class city shopping and other amenities for the first time. The ground-breaking complex embodied sustainable, environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient features in its design, construction and operating systems.
Lafarge supplied extended lower-carbon footprint cements and, concrete for the construction of the Mall, which involved laying over 8 million bricks and placing 37 000 m³ of concrete. In addition. Lafarge Gypsum's 6,4mm Plasterboard was used extensively throughout the project, providing an ideal solution for quality, space efficient interior finishes.
Impressive achievements in emissions reduction
Lafarge reduced its global cement plant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 20% per ton of cement compared with 1990 levels, a year earlier than the original 2010 target date. Recently, an ambitious revised target was set at a 33% per ton of cement reduction by 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
Greenhouse gas emissions from the cement process come from the high temperature decarbonisation of limestone, the primary raw material, and from the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels to heat the limestone. In South Africa, Lafarge recognised the potential of quality siliceous fly ash (‘fly ash'), a by-product of the Eskom pulverised coal fired power stations, as a cementitious extender. It was the first cement company, and still the only one, to offer a complete range of extended, more environmentally-friendly cements throughout all strength classes. Slag, the by-product from the iron-making process in a blast furnace, is also used but is only available in limited quantities. The term ‘extended' refers to the replacement of a portion of the cement clinker with a suitable alternative material such as fly ash.
South Africa leading the way
Lafarge South Africa's pioneering development work on extended, lower carbon footprint cements has resulted in a major reduction in the company's CO2 emissions and a range of products that offer considerable performance benefits for customers compared with standard ordinary Portland cements. The company's highly regarded technical resource, Quality Department Southern Africa (QDSA), which provides technical and laboratory services to Lafarge's plants and customers in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. QDSA is also an advisor on extended cements to the rest of the international Group, which operates cement facilities in 48 countries around the world.
Looking at performance, all of Lafarge South Africa's fly ash based products contribute solutions for better concrete in the form of enhanced durability, long term higher strength gain, improved impermeability for more watertight concrete that also resists ingress of aggressive chemicals, as well as having a lower heat of hydration. These attributes contribute to low life-cycle maintenance and enhanced sustainability. The high fly ash content of the CEM IV general purpose cements mean they are in fact classified as Sulphate Resisting (SR) cements in terms of EN 191-1: 2011.
General purpose but superior performance
The versatile premium technical product
The company's premium technical extended cement, Powercrete Plus CEM II 42,5R, is widely used in the readymix and construction sectors. Even in the water infrastructure sector which traditionally uses CEM I products, Powercrete Plus was recently chosen for the construction of the Metolong Dam in Lesotho, based on its versatility and heat of hydration benefits.
A solution for precast concrete
Developed for the precast concrete industry, the high early and ultimate strength cement, Rapidcem CEM II, is the only extended 52,5MPa class cement in South Africa. A major endorsement of the product's innovative formulation was its selection to be used in the production of one million concrete rail sleepers for Transnet Freight Rail. After a demanding specialised testing programme and on-site trials, Rapidcem met the exacting German specifications and outperformed non-extended CEM I products.
The first specialised road binder
Anticipating the priority that would need to be given to road infrastructure refurbishment and construction, Lafarge South Africa worked with road contractors to understand their needs and developed the country's first specialised road binder, RoadCem. The company is believed to be the first in Africa to introduce a dedicated, branded road binder cement. RoadCem is a CEM II cement with 35% clinker replacement using fly ash and slag.
There is an increasing trend to sustainable development, whether in the form of stringent environmental specifications in infrastructure tenders or developers realising the long-term financial and marketing benefits of Green Star rated buildings. Lafarge South Africa believes that the cement solution lies in its innovative new generation extended products that provide engineers with assistance in lowering the carbon footprint of their designs, as well as the opportunity to design for strength at later ages, enabling reduced cement requirements.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Located in 64 countries with 65 000 employees, Lafarge is the world-leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in its Cement, Aggregates and Concrete businesses. In 2012, the Group posted sales of 15,8 billion Euros.
Lafarge places innovation at the heart of its priorities, working for sustainable construction and architectural creativity to help build better cities around the world: more beautiful cities that are better connected, have more housing, and are more compact and durable. Since 2010, the Lafarge Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, the first global sustainability benchmark, in recognition of its sustainable development actions.
In South Africa, the company manufactures and supplies cement, aggregates, readymixed concrete, gypsum plasterboard and interior building fittings. It focuses on providing solutions to help the sustainable development of better cities that benefit the country's people. Through having a strong presence in all of its business lines, it is in a unique position to contribute to urban construction, while also helping to build better rural towns and villages.
Lafarge South Africa also demonstrates active concern for the conservation of the country's wildlife heritage and is a major supporter of the world's first dedicated baby rhino orphanage in Limpopo Province. The Group has for many years been a leader in sustainable development and was the first industrial group to enter into a worldwide ‘Conservation Partnership' with the environmental protection organisation, WWF International.
Additional information is available on the website at www.lafarge.co.za
For further information, please contact:
Country Communications Manager
011 657 0000
Bridget von Holdt
011 646 9992 / 0826100650