Tag Archives: AfriSam


Talking about creating concrete possibilities is one thing but doing something about it is a completely different story.
Leading construction materials company, AfriSam put its money where its mouth is by making this year’s Concrete Conference possible as the headline sponsor.

According to Richard Tomes, AfriSam’s executive: sales and marketing, as the leading supplier of concrete materials and the brand synonymous with concrete in southern Africa it was a natural fit for AfriSam to take the lead supporting the concrete industry through this conference.

“We are pleased to partner with industry bodies and events that showcase quality and performance in the construction sector, and that share expertise and skills among the players in this market,” says Tomes. “We believe The Concrete Conference is an important contributor to advancing excellence in the development and application of concrete.”

The Concrete Conference is hosted by four concrete industry associations – the Southern Africa Ready-mix Association, the Concrete Institute, the Concrete Society of Southern Africa and the Concrete Manufacturers Association – and will be held at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg on 1 and 2 August 2018.

This year, the programme will include presentations on the prospects for the construction industry, updates on design codes and concrete standards, materials recycling and self-healing concrete technology.
There will also be talks on energy-efficient concrete roofs, aspects of macro, steel and micro fibres, and extrusion kerbing. Speakers will provide case studies on recent landmark projects utilising concrete, such as Bosjes Chapel, Fourways Mall and Zeitz MOCAA.

Delegates can look forward to cutting-edge input from well-respected names such as Professor Henk Jonkers of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, Allesandro Bernacchia from Germany, Andrea Bonomi from Italy, Max Moyo and Leon van der Westhuizen.

Tomes highlights that concrete is a wonderful, versatile product that serves a wide and vital social purpose. “It creates possibilities for building education institutions, hospitals, transport and infrastructure of any shape and description,” he says. “It creates concrete possibilities for all of us to enjoy.”

The conference attracts construction professionals, engineers, specifiers and project managers, as well as practitioners from the cement, admixture, aggregate and ready-mix sectors.


Conserving the earth for future generations has always been part of AfriSam’s DNA. The sponsorship by this leading concrete materials group in southern Africa of the Biodiversity Category in the 2018 Eco-Logic Awards speaks to the essence of what the business is all about, and is in line with the company’s mission of creating concrete possibilities.

The Enviropaedia Eco-Logic Awards, introduced in 2011, are designed to recognise individuals, organisations and communities that positively contribute towards a sustainable world. The awards have grown in popularity over the years and present an opportunity for individuals and organisations to submit entries covering services, projects or products to compete in 13 environmental categories.

With one of its core values as “Planet”, AfriSam works hard to minimise its carbon footprint through various initiatives and has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability through significant investment in the research and development of processes that enable it to produce products efficiently. The company continues to set the standard in terms of sustainable business practices and is considered the ‘green’ leader in the industry.

The 2018 Eco-Logic Awards gala event will be held on 5 June 2018 and will be an opportunity for eco-logical leaders, professionals and innovators to network and learn from each other. Prior to the event, all projects entered into the competition will be evaluated by a panel of esteemed judges who are experts on environmental matters. From these assessments, winners will be chosen for each category and this will culminate in the announcement of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

The award in the Biodiversity Category, sponsored by AfriSam, recognises an organisation’s success in a protection, rehabilitation and mitigation programme and applauds the work in contributing positively to the environment. It is closely linked to the organisation’s own in-house efforts and the work it has done over the years.

As a leading supplier of construction materials, AfriSam recognised the importance of a focused approach in conservation efforts and its role in leading key initiatives in the industry. The company published its first environmental policy in 1994; an industry first at the time and since then has made significant strides towards environmental sustainability. Much effort has gone into initiatives in the areas of energy optimisation, emission reduction, a clear focus on the optimal use of resources as well as the rehabilitation of its old mining sites to a self-sustaining state.

“This event is perfectly aligned to our value of ‘Planet’ that defines who we are and what we are passionate about as a business,” says Richard Tomes, Sales and Marketing Executive at AfriSam. “Recognising the importance of all role players in creating an environment in which we can all make a difference on the environmental front is key to our success. The awards give us a platform from which we can showcase our efforts, learn from each other and encourage more action from all stakeholders. There is no denying that we are in a global warming crisis and we need to intensify our efforts to address issues of climate change. We are the custodians of this earth and we need to do all that is in our power to advance this cause and mitigate the damage already done.”

At the Eco-Logic Awards gala dinner, finalists are invited to join an exclusive group of thought leaders and Green VIP’s in celebrating their efforts while networking with like-minded people. AfriSam looks forward to attending this event as a source of inspiration and continues to drive its own initiatives that will enable sustainable development.


AfriSam has long led the charge in the cement sector for a cleaner environment, and continues to develop and conduct a range of initiatives to maintain the momentum toward a greener planet.

This has a special significance as South Africa is among the world’s largest and fastest growing carbon emitters, according to Nivashni Govender, environmental specialist at AfriSam.

“The country is one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world, when measured per capita,” says Govender. “This places a huge responsibility on the cement manufacturing sector to be proactive, as South Africa has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020.”

Having established its own environmental department as early as 1992, and developed an environmental policy just two years later, AfriSam has gone on to innovate a number of air quality management improvements. Upgrades in cement kilns and emission filters have led to the lowest dust emissions in Africa.

“Our ongoing focus on alternative fuels and resources (AFRs) has allowed us to steadily reduce the amount of coal burnt in our cement kilns, which in turn contributes to lower CO2 emissions,” she says. “For instance, we have developed a way of burning old tyres in our Dudfield plant – a strategy that also contributes significantly to addressing the environmental hazards posed by tyres when they are disposed of in landfill.”

Energy conservation is an ongoing programme, which has included the progressive installation of energy efficient lighting across the company’s range of cement, readymix and aggregate quarry facilities. As water scarcity becomes a more pressing issue for countries like South Africa, water conservation has also featured high on AfriSam’s environmental agenda, says Govender.

“Our programmes focus on reducing the amount of water per tonne of cement produced, or per tonne of readymix prepared,” she says. “Our readymix plants, for instance, have strict re‑use and recycling processes, and must recycle at least 50% of their grey water generated, on-site.”

The focus extends to the treatment of waste generally at all operations, where the waste stream of products like used oil, conveyor belts and pallets must be recycled to a large extent, and waste must be segregated on site to allow for more environmentally friendly disposal. Disposal to landfill is the last option.

As far back as 2000, AfriSam introduced Project Green Cement to actively reduce its CO2 emissions.

“Rehabilitation and biodiversity at our quarry sites is also a priority, and as early as 1986 AfriSam formed the first trust of its kind specifically to cater for rehabilitation costs on closure – even before this was a legislated requirement for mines,” she says. “Our current strategy of concurrent rehabilitation – in which we conduct rehabilitation as we mine rather than waiting for closure before we start – has proved very effective both from an environmental and ecological perspective, as well as a cost perspective.”

AfriSam’s focus on biodiversity involves detailed and ongoing research to measure the environmental impact of operations on species of flora and fauna, and steps to protect and foster biodiversity where necessary, especially where species are protected by law or endangered.

Nivashni Govender is AfriSam’s Environmental Specialist.

“Environmental protection also has implications when it comes to aspects of cultural heritage, which we take very seriously,” says Govender. “We initiated a process several years ago to conserve an area of underground caves on our property near Sterkfontein in Gauteng – part of a World Heritage Site; working with partners at the University of the Witwatersrand. We are handing over this valuable national treasure for scientific and public use, while continuing to support its maintenance.”


To stay at the cutting edge of cement production technology, construction materials leader AfriSam ensures that its maintenance programme is well planned with future production targets and energy efficiency goals in mind.

According to Hannes Meyer, executive – cementitious at AfriSam, the company’s maintenance standards are codified as part of its corporate ‘AfriSam Way’ programme, and comprise three areas: preventative maintenance, corrective maintenance and capitalised maintenance.

“Capitalised maintenance is vital to ensuring that you stay abreast of current technology and upgrade regularly in a way that improves the performance of equipment continuously,” says Meyer.

At its Ulco plant in the Northern Cape, for instance, the capitalised maintenance plan is allowing production to be raised from its original production capacity of 3,500 tonnes per day of clinker to a targeted output of 4,750 tonnes per day in the near future. The plant – built in 1984 – already runs comfortably at over 4,000 tonnes per day.

In addition to the production increases, the plant upgrades conducted as part of the maintenance schedule are also driven by the need to reduce energy costs and environmentally negative nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. He highlights that energy has become one of the most costly components of cement production – comprising electricity costs and thermal energy mainly in the form of coal.

“Installing a high efficiency separator gave us an immediate reduction in energy consumption, while an upgraded clinker cooler also facilitated higher output at the same time as reducing energy costs,” he says. “The gearbox in the raw mill was also replaced with a view to reaching our 4,750 tonne target. We replaced the electrostatic filter with a bag filter, not only to comply with more stringent emission standards but also to cope with the added volumes of air through the kiln.”

Another imminent upgrade will be to raise the capacity of the pre-calciner, which will in turn increase the output of the kiln while reducing the energy it consumes.

“The new pre-calciner will also have a positive impact on our nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions, by ‘splitting’ the energy input between the firing end of the kiln and the pre‑calciner,” he says. “This reduces the temperatures or the energy load in the kiln, which cuts down NOx formation.”

In a further innovation, AfriSam is helping to address the environmental issue of old vehicle tyres by using them as an alternative fuel at its Dudfield cement plant; the project is also designed to be labour-intensive, creating local jobs as part of the company’s positive social impact in its areas of operation.


Through its technical services arm – the Centre for Product Excellence – construction materials leader AfriSam has been showing what is possible when business collaborates with bright young minds at universities.

Partnering with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in recent years, AfriSam has made its specialists and its laboratory facilities available to UJ for its students – both for practical learning as well as to conduct research.

Earlier this year, that partnership led to two research papers being presented at the International Conference on Advances in Sustainable Construction Materials & Civil Engineering Systems, held at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Research for the papers was carried out at the Centre of Product Excellence by UJ Civil Engineering Science student Broadley Miller, and written up by Miller in conjunction with the department’s technical lecturer Johannes Bester and senior lecturer Deon Kruger.

The one paper – on the use of a concrete additive to eliminate returned concrete waste volumes – was particularly well received by the conference delegates, according to Bester, who presented on behalf of the authors. The research investigates the effects of a recently developed two-component powdered product in separating returned fresh ready-mix concrete into fine and coarse aggregates. The product is made from polymers and inorganic compounds, and is mechanically mixed into returned concrete to achieve this result.

“This allows for the reuse of the returned concrete as aggregates in the manufacturing of new concrete,” says Bester. “The returned concrete waste can therefore be eliminated, thus reducing virgin aggregate usage, as well as reducing the environmental impact of returned concrete.”

In their second paper, the authors explored the use of recycled aggregates as a replacement for virgin materials in the manufacture of concrete. They found that fine recycled aggregates have a much greater negative impact than the use of coarse recycled aggregates.

“The presoaking procedure used was problematic when used with fine aggregates and caused a large amount of excess water to be added to the concrete mix as a result,” says Bester. “This study highlights the importance of planning the demolition process of a structure to ensure that the best possible quality of recycled concrete aggregate can be extracted.”


Cement and construction materials leader AfriSam is the new anchor sponsor for the Concrete Society of Southern Africa’s prestigious Fulton Awards. This latest development is in line with the company’s mission of creating concrete possibilities by pushing the boundaries of concrete products, both in terms of sustainability and technical performance.

“This event is well known for recognising excellence in concrete – a product that is synonymous with AfriSam,” says Richard Tomes, executive: sales and marketing at AfriSam. “We believe it is essential to give a platform to those individuals and companies that are pushing the boundaries in the use of concrete as this process leads to the innovative use of concrete from an architectural as well as a functional perspective.”

In addition to being a long-time supporter of the Fulton Awards, AfriSam has also been a sponsor of the AfriSam-SAIA Awards for Sustainable Architecture and Innovation for almost a decade.

“At AfriSam, our focus has always been about the possibilities that concrete structures create for society, which is why we work closely with industry bodies and tertiary education institutions to achieve this,” says Tomes. “This collaboration seeks to do more than just promoting awareness within the industry. We actively get involved with various industry bodies like the Concrete Society, South African Institute of Architects (SAIA) and the universities to fund research as well as various initiatives aimed at advancing excellence in concrete. Our work is always about partnerships, as none of us can create these concrete possibilities on our own.”

The Fulton Awards recognise and honour excellence and innovation in the design and use of concrete. The Awards recognise the various teams involved in the construction of each project, including the owner, developer, consultants and contractors.

Nominations for the 2019 awards will be opening shortly and will include any project that has been completed in 2017, or substantially completed in 2018. Judging will take place on-site in early February and March 2019. A panel of seasoned industry experts have been selected to travel the country to evaluate each entered project worthy of an award. The process will culminate in the awarding of the esteemed Fulton Awards for Excellence at a prestigious function to be held at the luxurious Drakensberg Champaign Sports Resort in June 2019.

“Partnering with the Concrete Society in this important event allows AfriSam to recognise the excellent work that our customers do with the high quality concrete that they purchase from our various readymix operations around country, or that they produce themselves using aggregates and cement from AfriSam quarries and cement operations,” says Tomes.

The categories in 2019 are: infrastructure up to R100 million project value; infrastructure above R100 million project value; building structures up to three storeys; building structures above three storeys; architectural concrete; and innovation in concrete.


After the turning of the first sod in April 2017, construction of the glamourous Infinité apartments in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, has been proceeding apace – with AfriSam supplying readymix concrete and cement to contractors Tri-Star Construction.

The luxury ten-storey block of 198 high specification apartments will be the first high rise residential development in this area but – judging by the way the apartments have been snapped up – it will not be the last.

Launched by Fatasy Property chairman Baojin Chen, Infinité embraces a modern design with open, transparent spaces and extensive use of glass, with glass balustrades all around the building and on every floor.

After the earthworks were completed, Tri-Star Construction began piling in May 2017 and started its full construction activities in July. Completion date is set for December 2018. According to TriStar Construction contracts manager Daniel van Jaarsveld, the main structure will be completed by June 2018, while brickwork will continue until October.

AfriSam will supply some 17,500 m3 of readymix concrete over the course of the project, according to AfriSam sales consultant Liza Rossouw, and this will come from the company’s Prolecon and Spartan plants. About 4,3 million bricks will be laid, and some 38,000 bags of cement will be required for the bricklaying and plastering work. The reinforcing of the concrete structures will take 2,700 tonnes of reinforcing steel.

“Where special concrete mixes are required – such as for the swimming pool deck – AfriSam will create the required mix at the plant, and deliver to site,” says Rossouw. “In the case of the pool, the roof and some areas on the first floor where garden areas are planned, a chemical admixture will provide the concrete with improved waterproofing qualities by reducing its porosity.”

Van Jaarsveld highlights the focus on quality and safety, and says they use only sub-contractors with experience and in whose ability they have confidence.

“High quality finishes are non-negotiable in a contract of this nature, as the client and end-consumer will be expecting flawless results in every aspect of their living area,” he says.

He also emphasises the quality and testing of concrete as high on the agenda.

“We test every pour ourselves, and also make use of the services of a well-respected and independent service provider,” says Van Jaarsveld.

Rossouw adds that AfriSam conducts its own tests as a matter of course.

“This is a crucial element of the quality control for which we are well known in the readymix sector, helping customers to safeguard their own standards and effectively manage their risk,” she says.


Seeing through the challenging economic times requires an even more intense focus on quality, as this is what drives efficiency and cost effectiveness, according to Afrisam general manager readymix Amit Dawneerangen.

“AfriSam has consistently differentiated itself in the readymix marketplace by our standards and reliability, and this strategy has paid dividends in recent years where margins are narrow across the industry,” says Dawneerangen. “Our customers are more than ever looking to improve their own offerings to stay ahead under these tough conditions, and our proven systems and processes support them in this quest.”

Nithia Pillay, AfriSam’s national product technical manager readymix, highlights the importance of global ISO 9001 quality standards as the bedrock of the company’s systems and operations.

“Controlling costs and quality internally is an ongoing process that feeds our continuous improvement process, which is vital in the highly competitive readymix market,” says Pillay. He notes that barriers to entry for new readymix operators are not high, but that the market expects excellence in every delivery.

“Through honing our operations and carefully monitoring every aspect of our performance, we drive our own efficiencies and thereby make our offerings cost-effective to customers,” he says.

Underlying the high performance levels is the expertise and experience in the business, argues Dawneerangen.

“Even through the hard times, we retain our staff and with low staff turnover comes growing capacity and insight,” he says. “This is a substantial value-add for customers, as they benefit directly not just from our smooth ordering and delivery process, but from the advice and input they can get on technical and scientific issues related to all aspects of readymix and its applications.”

The company’s levels of excellence were recently in the spotlight when it took both the Best Plant award for its Wynberg facility, and the Best Fleet award for its Gauteng readymix fleet, at the coveted Southern African Ready-mix Association (SARMA) awards.

AfriSam’s contribution to the economy goes beyond adding value to customers’ operations, extending to various inputs that help keep the South African construction industry on a world-class footing.

“We value the opportunity to share best practice, so we play our role – along with some industry peers – on various standards committees of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) in concrete-related fields,” says Pillay. “We also make our expertise available to organisations like the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL), when they need input on issues like the Committee of Land Transport Officials (COLTO) specifications for road and bridge works.”

AfriSam recently won both the SARMA Best Plant award for its Wynberg facility and the Best Fleet award for its Gauteng readymix fleet.