LafargeHolcim upgrades cement plant in Canada to better environmental performance

13 September 2016

Lafarge Canada Inc., a member of LafargeHolcim, has completed a project in Exshaw to modernize its cement plant while improving its environmental footprint. Focusing primarily on boosting the production capacity of its kilns using the industry’s latest technologies, the project further supports the company’s commitment to sustainable construction and will bring about significant economic benefits to the local community.


Set in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, the Exshaw plant was first constructed over a century ago. Today, it’s a showcase for the construction material industry’s most cutting-edge production technologies. Now the largest cement plant in Canada, the Exshaw project furthers LafargeHolcim’s capacity to serve markets across the western parts of the country and the Pacific Northwest.

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Firing up capacity with state-of-the-art upgrades

Construction at Exshaw began in 2013, with more than 600 contractor employees on site at the project’s peak. The team achieved a very strong safety record – the Group’s overarching value – hitting nearly three million hours without a lost time incident. The modernization effort centered around major kiln upgrades, as kilns are the heart of the cement-making process. This involved:

  • Constructing a new kiln 6 with a state-of-the-art baghouse to collect particulates
  • Upgrading  kiln 5 to meet new emissions targets by retiring less efficient gravel-bed filter technology
  • Shutting down the older kiln 4

These upgrades enabled cement production capacity to increase by over 60%, from 1.3 million to 2.2 million metric tonnes per year. The project will also catalyze major economic and social benefits to the local community. Thanks to the expansion, an anticipated $1.2 billion economic impact will be a boon to the province of Alberta. Exshaw’s expansion will provide long term, good quality employment opportunities in the Bow Valley.

Reducing environmental impact through technology

In line with the LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan – which articulates the Group’s efforts to improve the sustainability performance of our operations and sets quantitative targets – the benefits of the Exshaw modernization project also extend to the environment. The technology upgrades involved in the cement plant expansion led to the following improvements in air quality:

  • Overall greenhouse gas emissions are approximately 25% lower
  • SO2 emissions have been decreased by over 60% with Lime Slurry Injection & the installation of a new Vertical Raw Mill
  • NOx emissions have been decreased by over 40%, with Ammonia Injection (SNCR process)

The expansion also resulted in reduced fuel, power and water consumption, zero water discharge and quieter equipment. The Exshaw cement plan is certified by Canada’s Wildlife Habitat Council’s Conservation Program and will continue to engage in initiatives that improve habitats for native species.


The EcoDome: efficiency and quality under one roof

As part of the expansion project, Lafarge Canada built a storage hall to house raw materials, protecting them from wind and weather, and reducing the spread of dust in the community. The EcoDome, named by the Bow Valley residents after a community contest, incorporates a stacker/reclaimer system that helps avoid bottlenecking in the cement production process while significantly improving the consistency and quality of the material.

Lafarge Exshaw ecodome construction

LafargeHolcim’s sustainability roadmap, The 2030 Plan

Sustainability has always been a part of who we are and how we want to do business. With the 2030 Plan, we are turning this core value into a set of actionable goals that are relevant to our customers’ and communities’ needs, while driving innovation and opening up new streams of products and solutions.

The Exshaw project is just one example of the Group’s commitment to cut its net CO2 emissions per tonne of cement and minimize our impact by improving efficiency.

Discover our climate targets

Learn more about all 4 pillars of the 2030 plan