Loulé cement factory could begin burning waste .jpg

Loulé cement factory could begin burning waste


[email protected]

CIMPOR, A Loulé based cement factory in Cerro do Parragil, close to the A22 near Boliqueime, is applying to burn non-hazardous waste at the plant.

The  project, which has been submitted for approval to Loulé Câmara, has reached the public discussion phase and is becoming the subject of much heated debate.

Cimpor has requested permission to install machines and equipment to co-incinerate vegetable and animal waste.

The EU defines co-incineration plants as facilities whose main purpose is to produce energy or material products such as cement and which use waste as a regular or additional fuel, this waste being thermally treated for the purpose of disposal.

Cimpor’s aim is to substitute a proportion of the fossil fuels currently used in the cement ovens with animal and vegetable waste which, according to company chiefs reduces pollutive gases by 10 per cent.

Various entities are involved in the evaluation of the project, namely the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional (CDDR), the regional commission for co-ordination and development, Ministry for Economy and the Instituto dos Resíduos, the institute for waste.

Loulé councillors, particularly those from the Social Democrat Party have demonstrated concerns over the project, allegedly, among many other reasons, due to their distrust of the true intentions of Cimpor.

President of the Tourism Board, Hélder Martins, a Social Democrat, questions the idea: “Sooner or later we will have an incineration plant, not a cement factory, on top of a borough that depends on tourism.”

Martins justified his concern by saying that currently, construction companies are buying a lot of cement in Spain because it is cheaper.

In response to Hélder Martins’ comments, the CEO of Cimpor, Álvaro Gomes, explained that co-incineration is already widely practised in Europe.

With regard to environmental issues, representatives from the Instituto de Resíduos and the CCDR, stated that the waste products at the centre of this discussion have to be eliminated by law and that there are no risks to health.

In June of this year, as reported in the The Resident, MP for the Algarve, José Mendes Bota visited the Cimpor factory to investigate rumours that Cimpor was preparing to install incineration equipment for hazardous waste.

At that time, the factory’s director, Hélio Veiro stated that the company had no plans to install such a system.

However, he failed to divulge at that time that waste incineration, albeit non-hazardous was on the company’s agenda.

In a statement released this week by Mácario Correia, president of the Área Metropolitana do Algarve (AMAL), which represents the Algarve’s 16 boroughs, he points out that the cement factory in question is “just a few kilometres away from Algarve tourism” and demands that the final decision, which will be taken by the government, is not taken without a rigorous evaluation of the environmental impact.

He expressed the councils’ concern over the situation and that AMAL demands that the government “must take its time to make a decision, that it should be very cautious, consider the studies very carefully and use the strictest technological criteria possible.”