Providing the Changes Society Expects

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-By Aleisha Parr

Through its regional operations in WA, SA and the NT, Adelaide Brighton Ltd provides construction materials and lime to the resources and manufacturing industries across all Australian states and territories. Utilising a comprehensive distribution network comprised of road, rail and sea freight, ABL is capable of servicing clients regionally and in distant and remote locations. As the upsurge in regional mining and resource based infrastructure projects continues to increase, so too does the demand for quality cement and lime products, placing ABL in a strong position to provide the highly-valued commodities. Furthermore, ABL has a strong focus on sustainability and community, ensuring not only that its products are top of the line, but also that their production leads to positive local change.

Cockburn Cement, located in Munster, WA, is the largest quicklime production facility in Australia, producing in excess of 1M tpa. The quicklime produced from this facility is derived from high calcium carbonate shells dredged from the seas bed and processed through modern preheater kilns.

A range of specialised cements are produced by Adelaide Brighton Cement at its Angaston plant in SA, including Type G oil well construction. Both Munster and Angaston produce high quality off-white architectural cements. Also of Adelaide Brighton Cement’s broad operations, the Birkenhead facility – the first modern pre-calciner kiln in Australia – is a large and efficient producer of general purpose cements. Northern Cement, operating out of the NT, is the sole operator of clinker and lime kilns supplying the local market.

Adelaide Brighton’s vertical integration through its specialised subsidiaries allows it to facilitate the delivery of locally sourced products across the country to clients promptly and efficiently. Says Ros DeGaris, ABL’s Group Sustainability Manager, “The structure of the business utilises shipping as a major form of transport for bulk distribution of product, giving flexibilities to import in peak construction material demand and export when international markets are right. The location of lime plants to service manufacturing and resources sectors in WA and NT has enabled the company to support the development of local industry.”

This level of service requires an extraordinary effort in coordination and also in capabilities outside of production, which ABL excels at. For example, large infrastructure projects – such as the Woodside Pluto LNG expansion – require tens of thousands of tonnes of bulk cement throughout the construction phase. Adelaide Brighton coordinates the delivery of cement over a distance of 1500 kilometres at the rate of 1200 tonnes per major pour, requiring a specialised fleet consisting of 16 pneumatic triple road train tankers on turn from Perth.

ABL complements its capabilities with a strong focus on sustainability, which it believes ensures the most opportunities for long term trading. Operations across the company all provide internal programs for economic, environmental and social initiatives, which have been enhanced through ABL’s recent involvement with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The council has spearheaded the creation of an agenda for action under the Cement Sustainability Initiative, which includes such issues as climate change, use of alternative resources, health and safety, community engagement and local impacts. ABL has participated throughout the process, helping to develop codes of practice and standards for the industry across each of these areas.

Through active trialling processes and the development of alternative resources sourced from by-products and wastes otherwise destined for landfill or disposal, ABL ensures that its operations have minimal effect on its environment. Examples include the use of waste oil to fuel heat in the kiln at Dongara, Mataranka and Angaston; the use of waste water from wine bottle washing to displace mains water at Angaston; the use of waste foundry sand as a raw material in kiln feed at Birkenhead; and the use of spent catalyst from the petroleum industry to displace clay in the raw material feed at Munster.

Additionally, ABL has developed an alternative fuel from construction and demolition waste, “utilising the combustible fraction back into the cement kiln as a fuel while the concrete is recycled as rubble for roads and paths, and metal components are recovered for scrap.”

ABL is also working to address greenhouse gas reduction through energy efficiency initiatives involving best practice maintenance, operations, and innovation. It is currently exploring new opportunities for product design utilising supplementary cementitious materials to replace clinker, the GHG intensive component in cement. Where clinker must be used, ABL is rallying to change the Australian Standards for cement and concrete to allow higher substitution of clinker to be developed in the Australian cement market.

Through increased use of supplementary cementitious materials, ABL’s regional facilities have proven advantageous. Western Australian operations are developing granulated blast furnace slag – a waste from the steel industry – into blended cements, and South Australian operations have developed blended cements with fly ash from the coal fired power station. Both states provide a specialised cement product for the mining industry with a low GHG footprint that meets the specific use for backfilling underground mining operations. ABL is actively engaged in R&D in concrete mix and related fields, as well as emerging technologies including the Schroeder Scholarship, which focuses on the development of renewable fuels from algae.

This focus on innovation not only includes ABL’s use of supplementary cementitious materials, but also the company’s adoption of technology and development of new products, which have received national and international recognition. Some such achievements include the development in 1982 of the world’s first dual gas and diesel fuelled ship, a raw material transport ship Accolade II, reducing GHG emissions compared to conventional natural gas fuel design; recognition as a Banksia National Sustainability Award finalist in 2007 in water conservation for the use of winery waste water at the Angaston plant; and promotion of the community liaison group model to other industries by State Environmental authorities. ABL’s efforts have also been recognised with an engineering design nomination in 2006 by the Institute of Engineers of Australia (IE Aust) for the recycled construction and demolition fuel storage facility at Birkenhead. This particular clinker stock shed operation utilised dust containment strategies to significantly reduce its local impacts, and in doing so, has improved the amenity of the local community.

ABL has also undertaken to establish community liaison groups in its pursuit of minimising local impacts. Engaging directly and regularly with site management at all major installations, these groups address common issues and actions regarding site performance and are responsible for developing the site’s Environmental Improvement Plan. Ros DeGaris explains, “The company works broadly with the community, government and other industry and has from those networks found new ways to operate, and prepared for changes that society expects.

Says Ros DeGaris, “Adelaide Brighton is committed to its role as a corporate citizen; to reducing its impact on the environment, providing advancement in technology and economic security by adopting new practices that strengthen the business, [and] through innovation linking its operations and products to the needs of the Australian community.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

May 26, 2020, 5:44 AM AEST