Coal is used in the Australian cement industry as a source of heat to melt the raw materials required to make cement – limestone, silica, iron oxide and alumina.
Using coal to heat the high temperature kiln, the materials combine to chemically and physically transform into a substance called “clinker” – a product that gives cement its binding properties. For each 900 grams of cement produced 450 grams of coal is used.
In 2010 Australia’s three major cement manufacturers produced 10 million tonnes of cement for domestic use. World-wide cement consumption currently stands at 1.8 billion tonnes.
The Australian cement industry currently employs more than 2000 people, has an annual revenue of $3 billion and is able to supply almost 100% of local demand.