See groundWork/ GAIA cement kiln portal
See groundWork Mercury portal
See Waste Pickers Portal
See groundWork Partners
Recent Publications
March 2011 Newsletter




All around the world communities are opposing cement kilns. This site is intended to bring those communities together and any additional information regarding groups that are working against cement kilns would be gratefully received. Please e-mail te 7; with any information that you might have.

Cement Kilns in South Africa

There are four cement manufacturers in South Africa: Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), with seven kilns, Afrisam (previously Holcim), Lafarge (once Blue Circle) and Natal Portland Cement (NPC).

PPC, NPC and Afrisam have all currently submitted EIAs for the burning of alternative fuels in their kilns. Initially, these were submitted individually to the various provincial Environmental Departments but at the moment they have been placed under the auspices of the national department (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism - DEAT), who are currently involved in a process to create policy and regulations around the burning of AFRs in cement kilns.

The DEAT National Policy on High Temperature Thermal Waste Treatment and Cement Kiln Alternative Fuel Use

As part of the consultative process, groundWork commissioned Public Interest Consultants, Wales, UK, to augment groundWork's submission with an evaluation of DEAT inputs. The resulting Response to the Consultation on a National Policy Development Process For High Temperature Thermal Waste Treatment was given to the DEAT at the beginning of 2008.

The Draft Waste Incineration Policy was published for public comment on 30 January 2009.


One of the primary "alternative fuels" being spoken about in South Africa is tyres, which are perceived to be an enormous problem in South Africa. An organisation called South African Tyre Recycling Process Company (SATRP Co) has been set up by the tyre industry. In order for them to begin the process, it was apparently necessary for tyre regulations (2007) to first be promulgated. These were poorly drafted and did not properly address the problems, as is outlined in groundWork's comments.

A second set of Waste Tyre Regulations (2008) were released. These were substantially better, although groundWork still made comment.

The final regulations were gazetted on 13 February 2009.

In addition to this there is a draft Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the DEAT and SATRP Co. We have subsequently been informed that this MoA will not be acted upon, and that the management of levies, etc. will be handled in the Integrated Industry Waste Tyre Management Plan provided for in the Waste Tyre Regulations.

groundWork has released a report which attempts to address the issues surrounding the use of tyres as fuel.

South African Cement Communities

The South African cement communities are working together to fight the cement companies. Their primary concerns relate to the current operation of the kilns, as most of the communities are subject to a great deal of dust and there is a high incidence of lung disease in these communities, and to the proposals to burn waste in the kilns.

A meeting of the all the communities was held in Port Elizabeth on the 27th and 28th of October. This press release outlines the purpose of the meeting. A full report of what turned out to be a very successful meeting will be posted shortly.


Lichtenburg and surrounds are home to two cement factories, Afrisam and Lafarge.

Afrisam Dudfield Plant

The Afrisam (previously Holcim) Dudfield plant is located near Lichtenburg in the North West Province. It currently recieves limestone feedstock from a nearby limestone quarry, while coal is brought in to the plant by rail. Dudfield's kiln 3 has been recently upgraded. The upgrade included the installation of a low-NOx multichannel primary burner which allows for multiple energy sources to be introduced into the kiln. It has also been fitted with a pre-calciner and a bag filter with a design particulate emission limit of 30mg/Nm3.

Lafarge Lichtenburg Plant

The Lafarge (previously Blue Circle) plant is said, by Lafarge, to be the biggest and most modern plant in South Africa. It is difficult, however, to establish anything about the plant. So far, Lafarge have not entered the AFR fray.


The Hercules cement plant was the first in South Africa, producing its first cement in December 1980. Hercules supplies Surebuild, Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Rapic Hardening Cement (RHC). The limestone for the plant comes about 80km, by rail, from the Beestekraal Quarry. There are two kilns, kilns 4 (commissioned in 1965) and 5 (commissioned in 1974). Kiln 4 is 114 metres long, with a single stage pre-header. Kiln 5 is shorter, at 66 metres, and has a 4-stage pre-heater. A planetary clinker cooler cools the clinker and both kilns have conditioning towers are are equipped with ESPs to limit dust emissions. An ESP is also fitted to one of the three cement mills. The other two are equipped with bag filters.

A summary APPA permit indicates that this plant is permitted to burn scrap tyres and sewerage sludge in kiln 5. This permit has expired and groundWork has requested a copy of the renewed permit. What we received was this.

On 3 October 2008, a Record of Decision for the Hercules Kiln 5 to burn waste was issued. groundWork appealed this RoD, but the appeal was dissmissed. groundWork considers that the letter does not meet the requirements of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act and is writing a further letter in this regard.


The Slurry plant is located in the North West Province, near Lichtenburg, in the Mafikeng Municipality. It was the second PPC factory and commenced production in 1916. Slurry makes OPC, Surebuild and RHC (Rapid Hardening Cement). Part of the production is sent to smaller plants (Port Elizabeth, Jupiter and Hercules) to supplement their production. Some is exported to Botswana where it is processed further. A quarry adjacent to the factory provides raw materials, which are also distributed to smaller plants. There are 4 kilns currently in operation. Kilns 5 (commissioned in 1959) and 6 (commissioned in 1960) are long dry kilns. They are not fitted with pre-heaters. Both kilns are 145 metres long and 3.45 meters in diameter. Kiln 7 (commissioned in 1968) is a large kiln, being 4.55 metres in diameter. It is fitted with a 1 stage preheater. Kiln 8 (commissioned in 1976), is fitted with a 4-stage preheater and a conditioning tower for cooling the exit gases. It is 5.25 metres in diameter. All the kilns are fitted with planetary clinker coolers and ESPs to limit dust emissions. The raw mill is also equipped with an ESP, as are three of the finishing mills, one of which also has a bag house filter.

Although, in terms of groundWork's PAIA application, we should have been furnished with a copy of the APPA operating permit for the Slurry plant, we were not and our request to be given a copy has been ignored.

Port Shepstone

The factory at Simuma Farm, which is about 13km north of Port Shepstone, is owned by Natal Portland Cement (NPC). Both a clinker manufacturing facility and a quarry are situated on the site. At the moment the clinker is taken by rail to NPC's Durban milling operation, where it is milled and made into first Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and then further blended into other products.

In September 2008 a Background Information Document was issued in respect of a Basic Assessment for a second kiln at the Simuma site. groundWork made comment to the draft Basic Assessment Report.

The Final Basic Assessment Report for the second kiln was submitted to the DAEA on 29 January 2009.

New Brighton, Port Elizabeth

The PPC factory in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, began manufacture in 1928. It produces Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Surebuild cement. When necessary, production is supplemented with clinker and/or cement from the Slurry plant. Limestone comes by rail from the PPC Grassridge quarry, about 40km away. There is a single long dry kiln (commissioned in 1966). It is not equipped with a pre-heater, although a planetary cooler cools the clinker. There is also no conditioning tower and the exit gases from the kiln are cooled by direct water injection. Dust emissions from the raw mill, finishing mill and kiln are minimised by passing exhaust gas streams through ESPs.

Residents are experiencing increasing dust problems from the site, and report that chronic chest problems are the norm.

New Brighton PPC billowing black smoke

As can be seen from the summary permit the permit that we were supplied by the DEAT is very old. We have asked whether there is a more current one, but have not received a response.


The Riebeeck plant is in the Western Cape Province, near Riebeeck West. It first began manufacturing cement in 1960, and produces Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Rapid Hardening Cement (RHC). The Limestone comes from the Riebeeck Quarry which is next to the plant. There are two kilns in operation, kiln 1 (commissioned in 1959) and kiln 2 (commissioned in 1968). Kiln 1 is a long dry kiln, 145 metres long. Kiln 2 is a long kiln of 138 meters, with a 1-stage pre-heater. Both kilns have planetary clinker coolers. Kiln 2 has a conditioning tower to cool the kiln exit gases. The kilns and raw mills are all equipped with ESPs. One finishing mill is fitted with an ESP, while the other has a bag filter.

The summary permit does not indicate what fuels may be used, and is very old. A request to DEAT as to whether there is a newer permit has been ignored.


The Dwaalboom plant is in the Thabazimbi Municipality in the Limpopo Province. It came into production in 1985, but was later mothballed because of a market turndown. In 1996, the factory recommenced manufacture, and now produces Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Surebuild cement. Raw materials come from the Dwaalboom quarry, which is next to the plant. There is a single kiln (commissioned in 1985). It has a 5-stage pre-header which feeds into a rotary kiln which has a diameter of 4.85 meters. From the kiln the clinker is dropped onto a grate cooler, which works more efficiently than planetary clinker coolers. To limit dust emissions, all exhaust gases from the kiln stack as well as the finishing mill stacks pass through ESPs. An indirect coal firing system is used, and the coal mill exhaust gas is dedusted in a bag filter, as is vent air from the grate cooler. Dwaalboom is being expanded to increase its capacity and a new pre-calciner kiln is expected to be commissioned in 2008.

The summary permit makes no reference to fuels, and is due to expire in September 2008.

De Hoek

The PPC De Hoek manufacturing plant is in the Western Cape Province, near Piketberg. It came into production in 1921, although PPC only acquired it in the 1950s. De Hoek produces Surebuild and Rapid Hardening Cement (RHC). The limestone comes from the nearby Zoutkloof Quarry. There are two operational kilns, kiln 5 (commissioned in 1974) and kiln 6, commissioned in 1980. 4-stage pre-heaters, conditioning towers and planetary clinker coolers are fitted to both kilns. To limit dust emissions, both the two kilns and the two finishing mills are equipped with ESPs.

As the summary APPA permit indicates, no mention is made of what fuels may be used. This permit is very old but our query to DEAT as to the availability of a more current permit has not been responded to.