Economy, Business And Markets

Cement Factory Officially Handed Over to Venezuela

Cement Factory Officially Handed Over to VenezuelaCement Factory Officially Handed Over to Venezuela

After three months of pilot production, Iran has officially handed over Cerro Azul cement factory to Venezuela’s ministry of basic industries and mining, the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) reported.

The factory was officially handed over to Venezuela in a ceremony attended by Mehdi Karbasian, the IMIDRO chief, and José David Cabello, the Venezuelan minister of basic industries and mining.

The cement factory, in which Caracas has invested nearly $309 million, can produce up to 1 million metric tons of cement per year, accounting for 13% of total cement production in the Latin American country. It was set up by the Iranian Ehdasse San’at (Escorp), a company affiliated to IMIDRO. The cement industry is flagship project of partnership between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Some 30 other Iranian engineering companies helped Escorp in the project. Cerro Azul was built with advanced technology, with special measures taken to protect the environment, including the bag houses to collect the cement dust which contains heavy metals like chromium, nickel, cobalt, lead and mercury, which are hazardous to the environment.

During the past decade, Iran’s cement industry has improved in terms of technology and can now share its expertise with other countries. With over 70 major cement factories, the country’s annual production capacity is at least 80 million tons. Annual cement exports have now exceeded 18 million tons and Iranian cement is used in more than 30 countries.

Despite the challenges faced by the cement sector during the past two years, mainly due to the unprecedented downturn in the construction sector, the industry has been able to export significant amounts of cement, in particular to the neighboring countries. According to Abdol-Reza Sheikhan, the secretary of Iranian Cement Industry Employers Association, cement exports decreased 10% during the first 9 months of the Iranian calendar year (ending December 21) compared to the similar period last year. However, the export of clinker – the raw material to produce cement – grew 37%, hence keeping the rate of total cement-clinker exports unchanged.

Recently, the cement industry officials have been seeking to turn the sector into a green industry. “We have installed special filters and house bags on our machinery to become the first eco-friendly cement factory in the country,” said Hamid Yoosefi, the managing director of Mazandaran Cement Company. He also described garbage as the best alternative for fossil fuels used in cement factories, noting that if garbage and waste material are burned at high temperatures, the environmental pollution and emissions would be minimized.