Resource: Dungsam Cement Corporation Ltd (DCCL) has resumed supplying cement to the two major contractors of Mangdechhu and Punatsangchhu hydropower projects from January 28, following a halt of around 10 days.

The two contractors, L&T and Jai Prakash complained about the cement’s quality, after it failed a quality test at the site. The two companies rejected about 300 to 450 metric tonnes (M) of cement and also stopped buying from the company.

DCCL officials claimed that the contractors have not returned the cement to the factory and it is lying at the project sites.

An Indian company, Patanjali in Tespur, India, had also lodged a similar complaint and returned 15 truck loads of cement to DCCL.

DCCL’s deputy managing director, Karma Gayleg, however, said the factory was not completely shut down because of cement quality issues. He said it affected the company for a few days though.

He said that although there was complaints on the quality of the cement, the factory continued to run. “We managed to supply cement to others and also handled the situation properly.”

Karma Gayleg said that after receiving the complaint, they jointly inspected and conducted a test at the site. “We found that it was not the strength of the cement but the setting time and soundness test on cement that failed because of excessive lime presence.”

He explained that the setting time is the time taken for the cement paste or cement concrete to harden sufficiently and the soundness test is carried out to detect the presence of uncombined lime in cement.

Karma Gayleg added it was also found that the cement could be reusable if it is stored for about a month for the lime to hydrate and cement to set, which is why the cement is still at the site since the issue is not about its strength.

“But we’ll have to do one more test after it sets and if it passes then they can use it. If the test fails, the only option is to bring back the cement and recycle or sell it to those who accept the cement,” he said. However, he added that he will try to convince the contractors to use the cement for other works instead of returning it to the company.

He said they assured the contractors that they will supply good quality cement in a week, which they managed and the supply resumed from January 28. He also claimed that the  order amount has picked up and the factory supplies about 3,500MT of cement in a day. He said they are hopeful they will recover the loss.

Karma Gayleg also claimed that of the 15 truck loads of cement Pantanjali Company had returned, 11 truck loads of cement later passed the test and was sold in the market while four trucks of cement will be recycled.

He said that they are still negotiating with the company through a third party to begin purchasing cement from DCCL again.

He explained that since there is high demand for clinkers with high lime content from the other companies in India, the factory has increased the lime composition, which later affected the setting time and soundness of the cement. “This interim situation did jolt us but we have learned a lesson to be careful next time.”

DCCL’s total cement sales in January this year was 52,415MT.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Nganglam