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Caribbean Cement Company Limited (CCCL) yesterday (March 16) broke ground for its Kiln 5-expansion project, which will be undertaken over the next three years.
The project is part of the company’sUS $130 million modernization and expansion programme, which is aimed at improving efficiency and environmental performance while making the company more globally competitive.
CCL Chairman Brian Young, speaking at the groundbreaking held at the Rockfort plant, said that on completion of the kiln, the plant’s annual production capacity would double to 1.3 metric tonnes of clinker and two million metric tonnes of cement.
On the company’s enquiry into the release of faulty cement into the market last month, Mr. Young assured that the matter was being thoroughly investigated, with regional and international assistance being employed. He informed that a comprehensive report would be made available soon.
In the meantime, he said, marketing and technical staff would continue to offer assistance and solutions to those affected by what he described as an “unfortunate, unusual and isolated occurrence”.
Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell, who delivered the main address, said that despite the challenges facing CCCL, the government was determined to stand by its commitments to the company. He said the support was not to intimate that the government was not concerned about quality.
“We are, and we are going to have to ensure that this difficulty that is now being experienced is fully and properly investigated, and that we ensure that it never happens again,” Minister Paulwell stated.
“We are not going to leave this matter unsettled. We will have to find out what has been the reason and how we will prevent it from recurring,” he further declared.
The Commerce Minister expressed satisfaction with the company’s expansion and modernization programme and in particular, the emphasis being placed on the training of employees through the Rockfort HEART Academy.
He said the company was also to be commended on its efforts to improve energy efficiency as well as attempts to put environmental safeguards in place.In his remarks, Vice President of the National Workers Union, Danny Roberts, said that based on the union’s preliminary enquiries into the release of off spec into the market, “we have ruled out the problem as arising from any weakness in the rigourous testing procedures.”
He noted that the quality assurance processes used at the plant have proven to be credible and sound, adding that the crisis facing the company had not daunted the workers at the plant.
Mr. Roberts further urged the government to “stand firm and make good on its promises to protect the plant until 2008.”
The kiln expansion and modernization project, while doubling the plant’s production capacity, will significantly reduce fuel and power consumption and reduce dust emissions.
The project is also expected to create more than 1,000 jobs over the next three years.