The cement industry in Brazil progresses side by side with sustainability. Conciliating its activities with protection of the environment and its commitment with society was always a priority for the sector. This commitment applies from the extraction of the raw material, with measures to reduce the local environmental impact, to the completion of the productive process, with a reduction of emissions. To comply with these principles, the manufacturing companies have for a long time been making major investments.
The sector undertakes all mining activities in a responsible manner and in full consonance with the environment around it, prioritizing above all the preservation of natural resources. With this in mind, it implements a series of actions with a view to minimizing the environmental impacts resulting from its operations, such as restoration of areas degraded after a mine is exhausted, stabilization and re-composition of the terrain, revegetation and planting of native species, control of erosion and drainage of rainwater, monitoring the flow, among other actions, always attending to environmental demands and legal requirements.
Climate changes, their causes and consequences, have been the dominating theme on the environmental agenda in recent years. For the cement industry this is also of maximum relevance, since the CO2 emissions are intrinsic to its production process, either through chemical transformation of raw material into cement, or with the burning of fuels used in this transformation.
A series of features of the production process, and of the measures adopted for many years by the cement sector in Brazil, have positioned it among the most effective in control of its emissions, showing the lowest levels of CO2 per ton of cement produced.
The Brazilian cement industry operates a large, modern industrial complex, with high levels of energy efficiency when compared with other countries, resulting in a reduction in the burning of fuel, and consequently liberating less CO².
Cement with additives, made by using bi-products from other processes, and alternative raw materials, have been pioneered in this country for more than 50 years, a practice that is followed today all over the world. The quality of the product is always maintained, within the standards specified by ABNT (Brazilian Association of Technical Standards).
The use of renewable energy continues to be an important factor in the production of cement. This includes the co-processing of residual matter (such as tires, used oil, plastics, paints etc.) and/or the use of biomass (charcoal, rice husks, sugar cane bagasse etc.), which emit less CO² than the traditional fuels. This process, besides providing an environmentally suitable destiny for waste matter from other activities, leads to reduced use of traditional non-renewable fuels, such as petroleum coke, fuel oil and coal.
This favorable position regarding emissions of greenhouse gases, allied to the expectations of higher consumption in coming decades, creates an enormous challenge for the Brazilian cement industry – to satisfy the growing demand for cement in the country, to build the infrastructure necessary to its development, maintaining the industry’s already low specific emissions of CO2, putting it among the most efficient in the world.
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