New Investments In The Cement Industry Of Brazil

By Mauro Nogarin

According to data from the National Union of the Cement Industry (SNIC), cement sales in February 2024 totaled 4.6 million tons, thus registering an increase of 3.9% compared to the same month in 2023.

However, the cement production outlook for 2024 is 62 million tons, 2% more than last year.

The North Region had an increase in sales of 18%, followed by the South Region, with an expansion of 11%; Central-West (6.7%) and Northeast (5%).

The industry market is normalizing thanks to a better economic expansion of 1.7%, an inflation rate that has been reduced to 3.75%, which will be maintained for the next semester.

With a stable situation like this, manufacturers are also taking the opportunity to make some investments that have been postponed in recent years.

This is the case of the Brazilian company Votorantim, which has announced an investment of $60 million dollars for the construction of a new grinding plant in its factory in Salto de Pirapora (SP), which will add 1 million tpy of cement to its production capacity from 2025, by upgrade of kiln W4 and construction of new residue derived fuel (RDF) facility for refining solid non-hazardous and hazardous waste with the install capacity of 120,000 tons/year.

The project aims to approximately double use of alternative waste fuels after the upgrade of Kiln W4. The upgrade of the kiln W4 will include increased calciner residence time, new raw mill conversion of electro filters to bag filters and application of Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction (SNCR) which will be used to control NOx air emissions.

However, this investment is part of the billion-dollar plan for the coming years, with the aim of increasing growth and structural competitiveness for operations nationwide, of which $300 million are already being executed.

First Investment
The new investment program includes the improvement of operations in several factories in the country, with structural investments that aim to increase competitiveness, co-processing capacity and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. With these investments, the Votorantim company will add an additional 3 million tpy to current production.

The new plan includes an investment of $60 million dollars to expand the productive capacity of the factory in Salto de Pirapora in São Paulo. The construction of a new cement grinding plant will add 1 million tons per year to the current production capacity of that unit. Thus, together with the Santa Helena factory, production capacity will be increased by approximately 20%.

Second Investment
The second investment that stands out in Brazil’s cement industry is that of the Cimento Gaúcho company, through which it will double production at the Montenegro and Candiota plants.

After inaugurating its factory last year in the Montenegro Chemical Complex, in Vale do Caí, the Cimento Gaúcho company confirmed the new investment of $30 million to expand the factory and establish a new unit in Candiota, in the Campanha region.

The estimate of the company Hipermix Sul Serviços de Concretagem, owner of the Cimento Gaúcho brand, is that, towards 2027, the factory will have the capacity to respond to up to 25% of the demand for cement in the construction sector in the Rio region Grande do Sul.

Currently, in its industrial plant, which last year demanded $20 million, Cimento Gaúcho operates with a capacity for 100 thousand tons of cement per year, 10% of the demand in Rio Grande do Sul.

However, 50% of the new scheduled investments – $10 million – will be allocated to the expansion of the Montenegro factory in the next four years, which will allow it to have the capacity to produce 150,000 tpy of cement reaching 15% of the demand of Rio Grande do Sul.

Third Investment
Finally, the third element that confirms the beginning of a new trend in the cement industry in Brazil, and that can change the current scenario of the main producers, is the interest of the CSN group (Compania Siderúrgica Nacional) in the purchase of InterCement , a cement company founded by the former Camargo Corrêa group.

An agreement that covers the entirety of InterCement, which has operations in Brazil where it operates 15 factories, some concrete plants, while Argentina controls 9 factories, whose share of the local market is approximately 45% of the national supply.

With the acquisition of these assets in Brazil, CSN would double its annual production capacity, which would increase from the current 17 million to more than 34 million tons of cement, thus equaling that of Votorantim, which is currently 34.9 million tons.

Mauro Nogarin is Cement Products’ Latin American correspondent.

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