Loulé’s Cimpor cement factory reopened its furnace on Wednesday (February 1) giving over 50 people their jobs back.
The furnace was closed in September due to a “significant drop in the demand for cement, which reached its worst levels since the start of the 1970s”, the company’s management told Lusa news agency.
The decline was attributed to the “shrinking construction market” and Algeria’s decision to stop importing from the factory.
But as the market “recovered” in the last quarter of 2016, the company was able to reopen the furnace and resume production.
Though Cimpor did not reveal the number of workers affected by the closure, a union source cited by Lusa said it was 57. The company guarantees that all of them have been given their jobs back.
The news was welcomed by Loulé mayor Vítor Aleixo, who said Cimpor is the only “truly industrial” company operating in Loulé and that the reopening of the furnace allows workers to “look at their future with more hope and confidence”.
Cimpor will once again be exporting its cement from Faro port, which was badly affected during the last six months as Cimpor was its sole user, Lusa adds.
Most of the cement will go to the Azores, though Cimpor is trying to expand to other markets.
The factory – 7kms outside Loulé in Cerro da Cabeça Alta – first opened 43 years ago.