Stakeholders explore alternatives to clinker in local cement production


Government says it is willing to deepen its support to the local cement manufacturing industry as stakeholders seek alternatives to the use of some imported chemicals used for production amid concerns about environmental impact and the country’s rising forex issues.

Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), Michael Okyere Baafi, reckoned that the current environmental and economic downturns have propelled discussions on introducing local substitutes such as limestone and clay in the production of cement.

“The economic benefits of these substitutes must not be underestimated. Clinker is not found in Ghana and every cement manufacturer imports, putting more demand on foreign currencies to pay for imports.

“A much more sustainable input or replacement is the introduction of clay and limestone, which are mined in vast quantities in Ghana. Clay and limestone also reduce the carbon emissions from cement,” he added.

The deputy minister, who was speaking at a construction sector exchange programme, asserted that using local substitutes will reduce the cost of production and significantly reduce pricing, especially within this incredibly competitive building environment.

The Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), Mr. Clifford Frimpong, said government has signed an Institutional Partnership Agreement for Germany and Ghana to collaborate on testing and standards development for construction materials and chemicals.

The partnership seeks a common objective of fostering economic and trade cooperation by implementing an institutional partnership between both countries’ government institutions. The institutions are the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) for Ghana, and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWK) and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM).

This formed the basis for a stakeholder engagement that was held under the theme: ‘Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: The Role of Local Substitutes in Cement Manufacturing’.

Mr. Frimpong noted that the theme is in line with government’s efforts at creating an industrialised country while combatting the impact of climate change with the use of green and environmentally-friendly materials in the buzzing construction industry.

Furthermore, he encouraged those in the construction industry to endeavour to comply with the standards provided by GSA for regulatory and policy activities. He observed that they contain elements which will improve the country’s construction industry and propel it into an important global economic player while protecting the climate.

To this end, the Ministry of Trade & Industry is ready to assist businesses and local manufacturers of cement with a conducive environment and testing facilities to produce and stay profitable.

The global cement industry is noted to be accountable for about 10 percent of global human-made CO2 emissions, of which 60 percent is from the chemical process and 40 percent from burning fuel. A 2018 study also estimates that the 4 billion tonnes of cement produced annually account for 8 percent of worldwide CO2 emissions.

As these demonstrate how detrimentally the production of cement and concrete affects the environment with CO2 emissions, the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said: “The emissions can be reduced by lowering the clinker content, which in the case of Ghana has to be imported (with foreign currency)”.

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