12 May 2017

Public exhibitions to explain plans for cement plant

Hanson Cement is planning a £20 million upgrade project at its Padeswood cement works in Flintshire which will guarantee the long-term future of the plant and its 96 employees.

At the heart of the project will be the installation of a new vertical roller mill for cement grinding which will improve efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and increase output. Hanson is also planning to invest in new rail loading facilities to allow cement to be delivered by train, reducing lorry movements.

A planning application will be submitted to Flintshire County Council in the summer. If approved, construction work will begin later this year with the new mill fully operational by early 2019.

Hanson is holding public exhibitions to explain the plans to local residents on Tuesday May 23 at Buckley Library and on Wednesday May 24 at Penyffordd British Legion Club, both 3.30pm to 7pm.

The Padeswood plant currently has four operational mills but they are old and inefficient. In addition, they do not have the capacity to grind the volume of clinker made by the kiln, creating a production imbalance and resulting in some of the clinker being transported elsewhere for grinding.

Plant manager Steve Hall said: “The plan is to mothball three of the old mills and install a new vertical roller mill capable of grinding up to 650,000 tonnes of clinker a year. The new mill will be fully enclosed in a building, minimising noise and reducing the potential for escape of cement dust.”

The project also includes construction of new cement silos alongside the existing railway line to load trains for delivery. At present the rail link is used to bring in coal to fire the kilns. In future, three trains a week will be despatched to Hanson’s depots in London, Bristol and Scotland – around 15 per cent of total cement production.

How cement is made

Cement is a critical ingredient in the manufacture of concrete – the world’s most versatile construction material. It is made by heating crushed limestone and other minerals to over 1,450 degrees centigrade in a cylindrical rotary kiln. The heat is generated by precisely controlled burning of powdered coal and alternative fuels such as waste industrial solvents and meat and bone meal.

As the ground stone moves through the kiln, the elements change to form a new substance called clinker, which comes out as grey balls, about the size of marbles.

After the clinker is cooled, the milling plant grinds it into a fine powder and mixes it with small amounts of gypsum and limestone to make cement. The finished product is then put into 25kg bags and delivered to builders’ merchants or into road tankers and transported to ready-mixed and precast concrete plants for use in a variety of construction projects.