Taiwan Cement promotes garbage treatment project

HEAT IN HUALIEN::After winning a contract from the city government, the firm plans to use its cement kilns to burn garbage and create an ecological park on the site

By Kwan Shin-han  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Jun 13, 2019 - Page 11

Taiwan Cement Corp (TCC, 台灣水泥) plans to spend at least NT$600 million (US$19.1 million) on constructing waste gasifiers at its Ho-Ping Cement Plant in Hualien County to help deal with local garbage, aiming to turn its industrial site into a public ecological park, corporate officials said yesterday.

“Our cement kilns at the Ho-Ping site can burn waste at 1,300 degrees Celsius, higher than most incinerators. Lethal materials, such as dioxin, will break into particles and no longer harm the environment after the burning process,” company chairman Chang An-ping (張安平) told a shareholders’ meeting in Taipei.

“We do not have a time frame for the waste treatment plan, as we still want to gain approval from local communities,” he said.

The company plans to treat the waste in an enclosed space and develop a special route for garbage trucks to avoid smells and contamination, the official said.

The company aims to develop the Ho-Ping unit, near the first exit of the Suhua Highway (蘇花公路), as an ecological park after the completion of improvement projects to the freeway by the Lunar New Year holiday next year, Chang said.

The park would help the public understand the company’s carbon capture and storage technology as well as the cement-making process, he said.

The Hualien City Government in March opened a public tender for garbage treatment and last month announced that it had chosen Taiwan Cement.

“The bidding process and public hearings were conducted under the rule of law, and we plan to continue communicating with locals instead of forcing them to accept,” a Hualien City Environmental Protection Bureau official yesterday told the Taipei Times by telephone.

It would take between two and three years for the company to establish the treatment facilities and receive operating permits, said the official, who declined to be named.

The city uses several landfills to dispose of its garbage and it is estimated that about 14,800 tonnes are still sitting in open spaces, as the landfills are almost full, the official said.

The city is considering using the incinerator at Lize Industrial Park (利澤工業區) in Yilan County to dispose of its garbage, the bureau said.

Taiwan Cement held its first public hearing about its garbage treatment plan on Thursday last week, and was met with protests about environmental concerns such as air pollution and garbage contamination, the Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) reported.

The company defended its plans, saying that last month it started to use cement kilns at its Guigang unit in China’s Guangxi Province to burn 330,000 tonnes of solid waste.

As for its core business, Taiwan and southern China experienced more rainy days last month compared with a year earlier, which slowed down construction schedules and led to lower demand for cement, the company said.

Revenue last month dropped 5.51 percent year-on-year to NT$10.9 billion, but combined revenue for the first five months of the year edged up 0.24 percent to NT$46.86 billion.

Shareholders yesterday approved the company’s distribution of a cash dividend of NT$3.3, representing a payout ratio of 75.51 percent based on last year’s earnings per share of NT$4.37.