Lafarge Canada Inc., a member of LafargeHolcim, has completed a project in Exshaw to modernize its cement plant while improving its environmental footprint. Focusing primarily on boosting the production capacity of its kilns using the industry’s latest technologies, the project further supports the company’s commitment to sustainable construction and will bring about significant economic benefits to the local community.
Set in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the Exshaw plant was first constructed over a century ago. Today, it’s a showcase for the construction material industry’s most cutting-edge production technologies. Now the largest cement plant in Canada, the Exshaw project furthers LafargeHolcim’s capacity to serve markets across the western parts of the country and the Pacific Northwest.
Firing up capacity with state-of-the-art upgrades
Construction at Exshaw began in 2013, with more than 600 contractor employees on site at the project’s peak. The team achieved a very strong safety record – the group’s overarching value – hitting nearly three million hours without a lost time incident. The modernization effort centered around major kiln upgrades, as kilns are the heart of the cement-making process. This involved:
Constructing a new kiln 6 with a state-of-the-art baghouse to collect particulates
Upgrading kiln 5 to meet new emissions targets by retiring less efficient gravel-bed filter technology
Shutting down the older kiln 4
These upgrades enabled cement production capacity to increase by over 60 %, from 1.3 million to 2.2 million t/a. The project will also catalyze major economic and social benefits to the local community. Thanks to the expansion, an anticipated $ 1.2 billion economic impact will be a boon to the province of Alberta. Exshaw’s expansion will provide long term, good quality employment opportunities in the Bow Valley.
Reducing environmental impact
In line with the LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan – which articulates the group’s efforts to improve the sustainability performance of our operations and sets quantitative targets – the benefits of the Exshaw modernization project also extend to the environment. The technology upgrades involved in the cement plant expansion led to the following improvements in air quality:
Overall greenhouse gas emissions are approximately 25 % lower
SO2 emissions have been decreased by over 60 % with lime slurry injection and the installation of a new vertical raw mill
NOx emissions have been decreased by over 40 %, with ammonia injection (SNCR process)
The expansion also resulted in reduced fuel, power and water consumption, zero water discharge and quieter equipment. The Exshaw cement plant is certified by Canada’s Wildlife Habitat Council’s Conservation Program and will continue to engage in initiatives that improve habitats for native species.