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XXXI Technical Congress FICEM round-up

World Cement,

On 8 – 11 September 2014, cement producers from Latin America and the Caribbean, industry experts, and technology and service providers from around the world gathered in Santo Domingo for the XXXI Technical Congress FICEM. Over the course of the event, the 345 delegates had the opportunity to catch up with the latest equipment developments and advances in engineering at an exhibition that brought together international suppliers for the worldwide cement industry.

Running concurrently with the exhibition, the congress featured a conference programme spanning the cement production process, occupational health and safety, maintenance and the environment. This year’s congress kicked off with words of welcome from Gabriel Restrepo, FICEM Chairman, and Carlos Emilio González, Chairman of the Dominican Cement Producers Association, as well as an inauguration panel that included José del Castillo, Minister for Industry and Trade, Pelegrín Castillo, Minister for Energy and Mining, and Jean Alaín Rodríguez, Director of the Centre for Exports and Investment in the Dominican Republic.

The technical programme began with keynote presentations from international sustainability experts. Philippe Fonta, Managing Director of the WBCSD-CSI, outlined the CSI’s Responsible Sourcing Scheme for the cement and concrete industry and the aims of the upcoming Concrete Sustainability Council. The International Finance Corporation’s Kristtian Rada and Luis Alberto Salomón discussed programmes to support the development of sustainable cities and greater uptake of waste heat recovery systems in the cement sector, before architect Luis De Garrido gave his unique perspective on the role of concrete in ecological architecture. In all, 43 high quality papers were presented, 22 by cement manufacturers and 17 by suppliers, in addition to the four keynote speakers. The presentations were scored by attendees, resulting in four winners:

  • 1st prize: ‘A disciplined approach to ensuring the success of major halts’ by Fran Jiménez, Cementos Cibao, Dominican Republic.
  • 2nd prize: ‘Increase of resistance-enhancing additives in Type I cement’ by Cesar Trujillo, Cementos Argos, Colombia.
  • 3rd prize: ‘Green taxes, threat or opportunity for co-processing’ by Ricardo Pareja, Cementos Mélon, Chile.
  • Supplier prize: ‘Vertical Roller Mill drive COPE’ by Guillermo Benjumea and Peter Boiger, Loesche America, Inc. and Renk.

The principal aim of Technical Congress FICEM is to provide a forum for the exchange of best practice and expertise in the cement production process, whilst also demonstrating innovative technologies and initiatives that can enhance the sustainability of the industry. Building on this tradition of knowledge sharing, a three-day course on cement chemistry was launched for the first time this year, running in parallel with the congress.

The event concluded with a tour of Domicem’s Sabana Grande de Palenque plant. Participants were shown around the site and invited to take a closer look at the plant’s quarry, laboratory and control room. Delegates were treated to some excellent displays of Dominican hospitality, whether it be the ocean side lunch following the Domicem plant tour or the gala dinner, which marked the end of the congress and included traditional dancing, a live merengue band and some spectacular carnivalesque costumes.

Photos of the event can be found on World Cement’s Facebook page:

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