Cement Americas

SUM 2019

Cement Americas provides comprehensive coverage of the North and South American cement markets from raw material extraction to delivery and tranportation to end user.

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www.cementamericas.com • Summer 2019 • CEMENT AMERICAS 25 FEATURE P roduction of portland cement in 2018 in the United States increased slightly to about 85.4 million tons, and output of masonry cement continued to be stagnant at 2.4 million tons. Cement was produced at 98 plants in 34 states, and at two plants in Puerto Rico. Overall U.S. cement production continued to be well below the record level of 99 million tons reported in 2005, indicat- ing continued full-time idle status at a few plants, underuti- lized capacity at many others, production disruptions from plant upgrades, plant closures over the interim, and rela- tively inexpensive imports in some recent years. Sales of cement increased by nearly 3% in 2018. Overall, shipments were 27.8 million tons lower than the record volume set in 2005. The overall value of shipments was nearly $12.7 bil- lion. Most of the sales of cement were to make concrete, worth at least $66 billion. In recent years, about 70% to 75% of cement sales have been to ready-mixed concrete producers, 8% to 10% to con- tractors (mainly road paving; much contractor work also involves ready-mixed concrete), about 10% to concrete product manufacturers, and 7% to 10% to other custom- er types. Texas, California, Missouri, Florida and Alabama were, in descending order of production, the five leading cement-producing states and accounted for nearly 50% of U.S. production. Recycling Cement kiln dust is routinely recycled to the kilns, which also can make use of a variety of waste fuels and recycled raw materials such as slags and fly ash. Various secondary materials can be incorporated as supplementary cemen- titious materials (SCMs) in blended cements and in the cement paste in concrete. Cement is not directly recycled, but significant quantities of concrete are recycled for use as construction aggregate. Events, Trends and Issues Shipments of cement increased by nearly 3% overall in 2018, tempered by stagnant sales of masonry cement. Construction spending increased modestly during the year, largely owing to somewhat higher spending in the residen- tial and public construction sectors; the nonresidential private building sector, however, declined slightly. Cement shipments into parts of the southeast and in Florida were lower than originally expected because of damage from hurricanes in 2017. In contrast, shipments into Puerto Rico were relatively strong because of reconstruction following devastating hurricanes in 2017. The leading cement-consuming states continued to be Texas, California and Florida, in descend- ing order by tonnage. Production of cement remained well below capacity, in part reflecting both the technical and environmental issues in returning long-idle kilns to full pro- duction at some plants, and the ready availability of import- ed cement in coastal markets. Company mergers continued in 2018, with the final approv- al of the sale of a major U.S. cement company to a Euro- pean cement company (the sales agreement had been announced in 2017). Completion of the sale required the consolidation of the European company's holdings (two cement plants) in Florida, and the sale by the European company of its newly acquired plant in Montana to a Mexi- can cement company. A major upgrade to a cement plant in Michigan was completed during the year; minor upgrades were ongoing at a number of other plants in the country. Apart from increasing production efficiency, these upgrades were expected to improve the ability of individ- ual plants to comply with the stringent emissions limits of the 2010 National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) protocol for cement plants, which went into effect in September 2015. Many cement plants have installed emissions-reduction technologies to comply with the NESHAP protocol, but it remained unclear if such modifications would be econom- ic for all individual kilns (some being of older technology) at multi-kiln plants. It remained possible that some kilns would be shut down, or used only sparingly, because of the NESHAP limits, and thus constrain U.S. clinker production capacity. Despite environmental permitting difficulties in recent years reducing the attractiveness of constructing new (greenfield) plants in the United States, a project to con- struct a greenfield white cement plant in Texas was announced during the year; currently, the United States has only two white cement plants. S Prepared by Hendrik G. van Oss, U.S. Geological Survey, for the agency's 2019 Mineral Commodity Summaries report. For more information contact Kenneth C. Curry, 703-648– 7793, kcurry@usgs.gov. Market Snapshot: Cement Sales of cement increased by nearly 3% in 2018. The overall value of shipments was nearly $12.7 billion.

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