The quarry where the cement is being dumped. (Picture by Maria Bradshaw.)
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SEVERAL BAGS OF Rock Hard Cement are being dumped behind a quarry at Lears, St Michael.
The dumping of the hardened substance started earlier this year.
This column received several photographs showing piles of bags of cement discarded at the site near to Preconco at Lears and at another St Michael location.
When some of the photographs were sent to Mark Maloney, chief executive officer of Rock Hard Cement, he charged that “it was another attempt by people to mislead the public but Rock Hard sells quality cement”.
He said it was normal for cement to get hard.
“Of course, cement that gets hard gets dumped. What’s the question? Go to Arawak quarry and you will see the same. It’s normal. Precast product that isn’t good gets dumped.”
Rock Hard’s public relations representative also contacted this column and advised that the cement had been dumped because it was not stored properly.
“It was cement that was left out by some people so it got hard because it was in the rain, so it got dumped afterwards. It wasn’t anything that came in. It wasn’t stored properly so it got dumped,” the representative stated.
Investigations revealed that the cement was first dumped at another site in St Michael by a private contractor who was hired to dispose of the product.
It was back in November 2015, that Rock Hard broke the 31-year-long monopoly held by Arawak Cement company in Barbados when it imported 20 tonnes of blended hydraulic cement from Portugal and sold it at 30 per cent cheaper than the competition. Rock Hard’s entry forced down the price of cement, said to be the highest in the world.
A source said: “the cement they are dumping is the one that came in the first two shipments that has been exposed to the elements the longest.”
When asked about the proper storage of cement an expert involved in the industry said: “cement should not be in direct contact with the floor or any wall. It should be in a closed facility protected by moisture, rain or direct wind. It should not be stored higher than 12 bags high. It should not be stored over 60 days for distribution.
“On average, after three months, the loss in strength is from 20 to 30 per cent, after six months from 30 to 40 per cent, and after 12 months from 40 to 50 per cent or more (if properly stored).”
“After those times it can be used, but setting time will be longer and it will never reach its final strength regardless of the amount of cement used.” (MB)