BRRI recommends use of local materials in production to reduce prices of cement
The Building and Roads Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research has called for increased use of local materials for cement production.
BRRI is alarmed by the high cost of imported raw materials at the expense of locally-produced pozzolana cement.
Cement use in Ghana has grown from 2.6 million tons in 2005 to 6 million tons in 2015, representing about 130 per cent.
Government currently spends, at least, 350 million dollars every year to import about 85 per cent of cement materials.
According to Director of CSIR-BRRI, Ing Dr. Eugene Atiemo this has resulted in high cost of housing.
“Cement consumption has always been increasing every year, an average of 6-7 per cent increment,” he emphasized.
The price of 50 kilogram (kg) bag of cement has consistently gone up over the years; from equivalent of Gh₵5.20 in 2000 to Gh₵33 in 2016.
With the continued rise in clinker, freight and energy cost, cedi depreciation as well as inflation, the price of cement will continue to go up.
Increased urbanization, government and private sector infrastructural development program and national housing requirement due to population increase, have contributed to high cement demand consistently per annum.
Ing. Dr. Atiemo, stressed the need to expand the capacity of the cement industry otherwise, the country will have to import cement to supplement local production.
The current cement market is estimated at 1 billion US dollars annually.
BRRI has developed low-cost cement with environmentally -friendly local materials, including clay.
Research and development activities by CSIR-BRRI have proven that calcined (burnt) clay can replace up to 40 per cent of cement for concrete works and general construction.
Investment in calcined clay pozzolana to replace 20 per cent of cement clinker would reduce imports by 70 million US dollars, reduce price of cement by 18 per cent.
Ing. Dr. Atiemo believes, “massive exploitation of Ghana's clay for pozzolana cement, burnt brick and tile production in the districts will result in retention of capital, create employment and generate revenue to the country and our communities “.