Boral Cement Works Berrima
The Boral Berrima Cement Works, located in the Southern Highlands of NSW, produces up to 60 percent of the total amount of cement products consumed within the state.
New Berrima NSW 2577
About Boral Cement Works Berrima
The Boral Berrima Cement Works is responsible for the supply of more than 60 percent of cement products in NSW and the ACT.
Construction of the Cement Works began in late 1927 and first operations started in May 1929. The neighbouring town of New Berrima was originally established in 1928 as housing for employees of the site.
Operating with one kiln (No 6), the Works takes limestone delivered by rail from the Boral Marulan South Limestone mine and, after blending with other materials, burns it at high temperature to produce 'clinker'.
The clinker, in the form of pellets, is ground to produce the cement 'powder' and products with which consumers are familiar. The site employs around 145 people in operational and administrative roles.
Boral acquired the Works late in 1987 from Blue Circle Southern Cement, retaining the original owner's name until re-branding to Boral Cement during 2010.
Latest News (Dec 2018)
You'll find the latest information for community and stakeholders in this section, as well as any newsletters and publications issued by the site.
Successful SWDF trial to lead to program extension
At the Cement Works' 'special' whole-of-community meeting held on 6 December 2018, Boral shared the outcomes of the commissioning trial period for the site's new Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDF) Project. Despite two minor issues, the trial was completed very successfully, with SWDF consumption now at a rate of 55000 tonnes per year.
The positive results of the trial has led Boral to now look at extending the program into 2019. Meeting attendees were told of Boral's plans to:
- Seek approval in 2019 to extend the SWDF intake shed, facilitating an increase in the SWDF usage rate to 75000 tonnes per year;
- Installation of a new (or modification of existing) pump on the plant's calciner; and
- Broadening the window during which deliveries of SWDF from Sydney can be received at the site.
Boral is also considering other new fuel options which fit into the provisions of the Cement Works' planning approval for 'non standard fuels'. The first of these is a material called carbon anode, a by-product of the aluminium smelting industry.
To learn more about these proposals, view the Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDF) Project tab. You can also review the presentation given to the community meeting at the Our Community tab.
Isotainer use to reduce trucks on local roads
As part of ongoing efforts to improve logistics associated with the Cement Works, Boral is looking at increasing usage of isotainers at both its Berrima and Maldon Cement Works.
An isotainer is a tube-like structure set within a rectangular frame with a capacity of up to 28 tonnes - the same as a road-going tanker. Isotainers can be transported via rail, road or shipping.
At Berrima, Boral is planning on establishing an isotainer handling facility on the northern side of the Cement Works site early in 2019. Once established, the site plans to load three trains per week with up to 56 isotainers each, meaning between 150 000 and 200 000 tonnes of cement transferring from road to rail. This equates to about 148 trucks per week being taken off the road.
To learn more about the isotainer proposal, view the presentation to the 6 December 2018 community meeting at the Our Community tab.
New storage to help reduce dust
Another project under consideration for 2019 at Berrima is the construction of a new storage dome for off-white clinker. The dome would be able to house up to 21000 tonnes of the product, removing the need for external storage in tarped stockpiles and assisting with the site's management of dust emissions.
The dome, still subject to internal approval, would be built amongst the existing site structures and would not be visible from New Berrima village as a result.
BERRIMA CEMENT COMMUNITY UPDATES & INFORMATION
These are the latest newsletters and publications issued by the site. If you'd like access to older issues and information, please send us an email.
- Boral Berrima Community Update - July 2018
- Boral Berrima Community Update - August 2017
- Boral Berrima Community Update - December 2015
Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDF) Project
The Berrima Cement Works uses Solid Waste-Derived Fuels (SWDFs) as part of its 'fuel mix' which provides the energy and heat necessary to produce clinker in the on-site kiln.
The site has had the ability to use SWDFs in blend with coal since late 2018 when commissioning of the $12 million SWDF intake system was completed. The implementation of the system, construction on which began in late 2017 following the achievement of planning approval during 2016, was assisted by a $4 million grant awarded through the NSW Environment Trust 's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
As at the end of 2018, the SWDF system was functioning at a rate of 55000 tonnes per year, consuming 35000 tonnes per year of refuse-derived fuel (RDF), and 20000 tonnes per year of wood waste-derived fuel (WWDF). To date, more than 8500 tonnes of material has been diverted from landfills around NSW as a result.
The successful initiation of the SWDF system in 2018 has led Boral to begin considering how to extend the program into 2019 and beyond.
What are SWDFs?
SWDFs are typically waste by-products of industry which are given a secondary use as a fuel for energy or heat. In cement manufacturing, they can be used in combination with traditional fuels (mainly coal) to provide the energy necessary for the high temperatures needed inside the kiln.
Use of SWDFs means Berrima will reduce its former total reliance upon coal for its energy needs. In the process, it will reduce its production costs and remain competitive within the Australian market.
At Berrima, two SWDFs have been added to the site's planning approval for use - WWDF and RDF. The site already had previous approval to use rubber tyre 'chips', although these are not in use at the current time.
WWDF consists of the off-cuts and leftovers of processes such as furniture manufacturing. It does not contain any commercial or native forestry material.
RDF is produced by processing suitable combustible materials found in construction and demolition waste. It's important to note it is not simply made from any wastes, including those disposed of via domestic collection.
Typically, SWDFs are made from materials which otherwise would be destined for landfills, space for which comes at a premium in the populated areas of NSW.
Commissioning of the SWDF system (2018)
Planning approval for the use of WWDF and RDF as SWDFs at Berrima, as well as the associated plant and equipment, was granted by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) in October 2016. The approval followed a four year process of studies, planning applications and community engagement.
Construction on the SWDF plant began in the last quarter of 2017 and was completed by June 2018. 'Dry' commissioning (running of the plant and equipment without the use of SWDF material) took place the following month, while the first SWDF material was introduced in mid-August 2018 for 'wet' commissioning.
The 'wet' commissioning phase will extend until April 2019. In December 2018, the site reported results to date to the community - these indicated the transition to regular SWDF usage had been highly successful, with the systems performing well within expectations for production, as well as the tighter air quality emission limits tied to SWDFs.
Despite the positive outcomes, there were two minor occasions where the program did not go to plan. They were:
- On 20 September, the site's electrostatic precipitator system was 'tripped' when carbon monoxide levels started to increase. This caused a very brief rise in dust and some metal emissions. The cause was identified and a solution implemented via the installation or modification of a new pump on the plant calciner. There was no risk to health or safety as a result of this brief issue.
- On 19 November, the ongoing 'real time' monitoring of stack emissions at the plant indicated an elevated level of hydrogen chloride. The cause was identified as a faulty valve and subsequent water supply failure - the valve has since been replaced, and a second water pump system installed as a failsafe. Again, there was no risk to health or safety.
Both incidents were reported to the DPE and NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as required under the terms of the site's approvals.
Planning and Approvals
General operating approvals
The Boral Berrima Cement Works was commissioned in 1929 and has been operated continuously ever since. During the course of its history, the site has hosted six different kilns and a wide variety of infrastructure.
For many years, the Cement Works was reliant upon 'continuing use rights' as the basis for operating approval. Today, two main approvals inform the site's operating conditions.
- DA 401-11-2002-i, issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 12 May 2003 for the upgrade of Kiln 6, and
- DA 85-4-2005, issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on 16 August 2005 for the establishment of Cement Mill 7.
These approvals have been subject to a number of modification applications which have subsequently been approved.
Berrima Cement Works - Mill 7 Consent
The site also holds several development application (DA) approvals issued by Wingecarribee Shire Council for a number of the smaller buildings and structures on site.
Environmental Management Plans
The Boral Berrima Cement Works has developed a set of Environmental Management Plans (EMPs) over many years to guide site environmental management.
The suite of management plans assist the operations to meet the terms of its environment protection licence (EPL) and planning approvals.
You can read each of these plans below:
Annual Environmental Management Reviews
The Cement Works is required to compile an Annual Review at the end of each reporting year, capturing information about operations and performance against a range of criteria. The reviews, known as AEMRs, can be found below.
Combined Kiln 6 and Cement Mill 7 Reviews
Cement Mill 7
Environmental Audits - External
The planning consents for both Kiln 6 and Cement Mill 7 at the Berrima Cement Works include a provision that a tri-annual environmental audit be undertaken as a verification of compliance.
You can read the related audit report below:
Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011
The Berrima Cement operation, as well as many other Boral sites, has obligations under the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Act 2011.
These obligations include providing public access to pollution reporting data. You can find out more about the Act and the results for the Berrima site here.
Pollution Incident Notification Register
Under the NSW Protection of the Environment Act 1997, Boral is required to develop procedures for the notification of neighbours in the event of a 'pollution incident'.
Examples of pollution incidents include (but are not limited to) significant oil or hydrocarbon spills; release of large volumes of high pH (alkaline) water; and fires or significant smoke.
The procedure requires the establishment of a secure register of neighbour contact details which can be used for notification. This register was started in 2013.
If you live within a one kilometre radius of the Cement Works, you can register your details directly via email. Phone and mobile numbers, email addresses and so on can be included depending on your contact preference.
Listening to Our Community
A register of complaints made to the Berrima Cement Works and their resolution is required to be made available for public review.
You'll find the latest version of the register below:
The Berrima Cement operation has made significant contributions to the Southern Highlands community over many years through supporting activities and participating in events. During this time, the site has employed generations of local people, providing a cornerstone for the economic and social development of the region.
Since Boral's arrival in the 1980s, this tradition of working with and contributing to the community has continued.
Berrima Cement Works - Community Partnerships
Boral Cement Berrima has forged strong links with a variety of community partners over its decades of operating. Current examples include:
Community events (regular)
- Wingecarribee Shire Council - Jobs & Careers Expo (annual, 2011-18)
- Rotary - Southern Highlands Schools Science & Engineering Challenge (annual, 2013-18)
- Southern Highlands Business Excellence Awards (annual, 2011-18)
- Moss Vale Chamber of Commerce - Buskers' Battle (2017)
- Harper's Mansion - Plant & Garden Fair (annual, 2016-17)
- Southern Highlands Veterans - Golf Day (annual, 2016-17)
- Southern Stars Baseball Club, Colo Vale (2016-18)
- Hill Top Soccer Club (2016-17)
Community events (recent 'one off')
- Moss Vale Public School - Twilight Fete (2016)
- St Paul's Parish Primary School - Community Fair (2016)
- Bowral High School - End of Year Presentation (2016)
- Berrima TownLife - Carols By Candlelight (2016)
- National Breast Cancer Foundation - Southern Highlands Mother's Day Classic (2015-16)
- Berrima District Old Machinery Club - Show (2016)
- Southern Highlands Kennel & Obedience Club - All Breeds Championship Show (2016)
- Southern Highlands Domestic Violence Forum - Golf Day (2016)
Boral Corporate Partnerships at Berrima
Communities around the Berrima Cement Works have also benefited through Boral's partnerships held at the corporate level.The most significant of these is with Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) which has been in partnership with Boral since 1988.
Over the years, CVA has delivered its Biodiversity Classroom and Connected Communities programs at Berrima, mainly through the Berrima Public School.
Each of these programs, delivered on behalf of Boral, has assisted in enlightening both students and staff about their local environment, as well as delivering improvements to the school grounds.
In 2016, CVA also assisted at the Tudor House School, Moss Vale, creating a new 'bush tucker' vegetable garden and greenhouse spaces.
Berrima Cement is also a focus of Boral's partnership with Outward Bound Australia (OBA). The site co-supports a Youth Leadership Program with Boral's two Marulan South operations which is aimed at Year 9 students attending Moss Vale, Goulburn and Mulwaree High Schools.
The Program consists of an educational camp followed by the development and delivery of projects by participants which are designed to benefit their local community. A recent example of the Project in action can be viewed on OBA's Facebook page.
Leaving a legacy for Berrima
The Berrima Cement Works has also contributed to numerous community building and infrastructure projects which remain in active use today.
Some of these projects include:
- Mittagong SES - new Operations building (2013)
- Berrima Public School - Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Project (2012)
- Bundanoon Public School - garden seating project (2017)
- Mittagong Rugby League Club - cement for pathway and accessibility improvements (2015)
- Living Green - Revegetation along Wingecarribee River, Berrima and Cosgrove Park, Moss Vale (2011)
Find out more about Boral's Community and Corporate Partnerships on our corporate website.
Since the early 2000s, Boral has arranged community meetings as a means of sharing information and gauging general perceptions about operational performance. Meetings are open to any interested community member, with times and dates advertised through the Southern Highlands News, letterbox 'drops' and notices in local stores.
You can view the meeting presentations from sessions held during the past three years below:
Berrima Cement Community Liaison Group
The Boral Berrima Cement Works has a long tradition of arranging community meetings to share information about the operations, review their performance with neighbours and stakeholders, and to gather feedback.
Between 2011 and 2017, these meetings were held regularly and made open to anyone who wished to attend. With declining numbers over time, a decision was taken in 2017 to adjust to a new approach more closely aligned with the Cement Works’ planning approvals.
This involves re-forming the site’s Community Liaison Group (CLG) as required by the planning consent for Kiln 6, the instrument largely governing how the entire Cement Works is managed.
The CLG will meet at least twice a year (typically of a Wednesday or Thursday evening) and consist of representatives from Boral, Wingecarribee Shire Council, and at least four members of the local community.
While not a formal decision-making body, the CLG will inform Boral about local issues of concern related to the Cement Works. It will relay community feedback to Boral about the site’s performance, as well as share information about operations provided by Boral with relevant stakeholders.
The CLG will further be sought to advise Boral about decisions with regard to community relations and stakeholder engagement, and be an important testing point for the Cement Works in terms of environmental data and operational plans.
Once selected and confirmed, the CLG’s first responsibilities will be to determine arrangements for the chairing of meetings, and to frame a Terms of Reference for the group.
It should be noted the CLG will only concern itself with matters related directly to the Berrima Cement Works and not other Boral operations or interests.
We’re now seeking Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for the four CLG community representative positions. Those interested are encouraged to send their EoI via email to firstname.lastname@example.org , including your name and contact details, and a statement addressing the following:
- Place and length of residence within the Southern Highlands. Preference will be given to applicants from New Berrima and Berrima townships, however those living further afield are welcome to apply;
- Outline of the applicant’s connection to or interest in the Cement Works;
- Demonstration of the applicant’s capacity to both represent other members of the local community, and communicate information to and from those community members;
- Offers the applicant’s previous experience in working within similar groups, or which otherwise demonstrates an ability to constructively contribute to the CLG on behalf of other community members.
EoIs will be accepted until the end of business on Friday, 21 December 2018. All EoIs will then be reviewed toward the end of January, before successful applicants are contacted with a view to a first meeting during March 2019.
The Cement Works will also continue to hold annual ‘Whole of Community’ (WoC) meetings each July for any other locals interested in hearing about the site’s performance across the previous financial year.
‘Special’ WoC meetings will also be organised as needs arise, such as the one arranged to report back the outcome of the Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDF) system commissioning.
If you have any questions, please call our Stakeholder Relations Manager, Paul Jackson, on 4677 2946 (Mon/Tue/Fri) or 0401 894 097 (Wed/Thu).
A Brief History of the Berrima Cement Works
- 1926 - Arthur Stanley Taylor decides to build the Cement Works for processing limestone from his Marulan South mine.
- 1927 - The Cement Works site is purchased and Southern Portland Cement formed. Equipment begins arriving at site for construction.
- 1928 - Subdivided land in New Berrima is offered for employee housing.
- 1929 - (24 May) Production starts with Kiln 2. Kiln 1 comes online later in the year.
- 1935 - Production of the first 'low heat' cement for the Sydney Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board.
- 1948 - Supply of 'low heat' cement to the Warragamba Dam construction project begins.
- 1954 - Kiln 3 comes online, lifting annual plant capacity to 260 000 tonnes. A decision is made later in year to commence Kiln 4, triggering a major site upgrade including a new raw mill, two new cement mills and a coal mill.
- 1964 - Kiln 5 begins production as the largest of its type in the British Commonwealth. It has a capacity of 435 000 tonnes per annum. A new cement mill, three 2000 tonne silos and a new coal mill are also built in support. Kiln 4 and 5 capacity is now 600 000 tonnes per annum.
- 1974 - Berrima becomes part of the Blue Circle Southern Cement group. Kilns 1-4 are gradually phased out of production through the early 1970s.
- 1978 - Kiln 6 is commissioned, producing 750 000 tonnes per annum.
- 1987 - Blue Circle Southern is acquired by the Boral Group, but the business retains Blue Circle branding.
- 1998 - $36 million upgrade increases Kiln 6 capacity to potential output of 1 million tonnes per annum.
- 2004 - A further $94 million upgrade to Kiln 6 and ancillary plant incorporates new technology and increases output to 1.35 million tonnes per annum.
- 2007 - Cement Mill No 7 is commissioned to cope with increased demand.
- 2010 - Blue Circle operations convert to the Boral brand.
- 2011 - Removal of Kiln 5 and other structures as part of a major site overhaul.
- 2016 - Approval received from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for site to begin using Solid Waste Derived Fuels (SWDFs) as part of the energy mix for the kiln.
- 2017 - Construction begins on the plant and equipment needed to integrate SWDFs into production.
Built with Berrima Cement
Some of the best known public infrastructure built in NSW and the ACT has included cement produced at the Berrima Cement Works:
- Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
- Sydney Opera House
- Federal Parliament House
- High Court of Australia
- National Art Gallery, Canberra
- Anzac Bridge, Sydney
- Sydney Harbour Tunnel
- Motorway sections of the Hume, Pacific and Federal Highways.