Gypsum industry news
UK: Nottingham County Council has granted permissions to the Marblaegis Mine near British Gypsum's East Leake wallboard plant to operate for a further 17 years. The mine was originally licensed to operate until the end of 2025 but can now operate until 2042.
"The phasing out of coal-fired power stations means we have reducing access to synthetic gypsum or desulphogypsum, also called DSG, an important by-product we have been recycling into plasterboard since the early 1990s. We need to counteract this reduction in DSG output by increasing supply from mined and quarried natural gypsum as well as continuing to support plasterboard recycling programmes," said Jeremy Elvins, minerals and estates manager at British Gypsum to Inside Media.
The mine has an installed production capacity of 600,000t/yr but only 250,000t/yr is extracted at present. The mine supports 26 full-time staff at present although the nearby wallboard plant employs 264 staff and 125 contractors.
UK: British Gypsum has launched its Gyproc Habito plasterboard product to the retail sector. The plasterboard features a high-strength core that provides strength, durability and fixability. The product is intended to help create durable and robust commercial spaces, while improving design flexibility. Due to its strength it is being targeted at high traffic retail spaces where interiors are frequently redesigned.
"Retail is a sector that's constantly evolving to meet customer needs and requirements, so flexibility is crucial on any project. There is a lot of time pressure during construction to get a store open as quickly as possible. Due to a reduced need for patressing, Gyproc Habito speeds up the installation process in addition to providing the freedom to fix heavy items anywhere," said Paul Campbell, Head of Product Marketing at British Gypsum.
UK: Formula, a brand of Saint-Gobain, has awarded a five-year contract to Darlington-based Banner Contracts to extract high purity gypsum from its opencast mine in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Banner Contracts was chosen after a tender process involving eight potential suppliers.
The opencast mine, known as Bantycock, produces around 230,000t/yr of gypsum. Nottinghamshire County Council agreed a revised restoration scheme at the site following consultation. So far this has seen the backfilling of 25 acres with overburden completed and covered with topsoil in 2016.
"Banner's professionalism and expertise is second to none so we are delighted to announce this contract. Its experience in mineral processing was a key factor in its selection as it will help us continue to improve our yield of useable gypsum versus the amount of rock we extract. This improved yield helps maximise the reserve life, whilst operating in a safe and sustainable manner. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship over the duration of the contract," said Saint-Gobain Formula Plant Manager Mark Yates.
Banner Contracts Director Jo Banner added that the contract is a large one for the company and that it has invested in a new plant and equipment. New installations at the site include a Hercules trommell commissioned especially for the application, a number of Tesab machines including a 800i jaw crusher, a TS1860 scalping screen, a TS2430 screen and a Trackstack radial conveyor and a sizer from MMD.
UK: British Gypsum has released plans to use natural gypsum instead of synthetic gypsum at its Sherburn-in-Elmet wallboard plant in North Yorkshire. The company wants to extend its mill building to aid the conversion as well as make some minor logistical changes at the site. The details were released as part of a planning application made to the local council, according to the York Press. If approved, British Gypsum says that the conversion will safeguard 130 jobs at the plant.
According to the planning statement, the current forecast for synthetic gypsum supply to the Sherburn plant projects that in late 2017 or early 2018, the plant's ability to continue manufacturing would be under threat. The plant is currently unable to grind natural gypsum rock on-site and operates solely on the use of desulphurised gypsum supplied from the Drax Power Station. The statement claims adequate and appropriate infrastructure is in place to meet the needs of the proposed development, including appropriate drainage to ensure there would be no increased risk of flooding from surface water run-off. It adds that the proposed development will be energy efficient and minimise energy consumption.
UK: Knauf has ordered a second Samson Material Feeder for its Immingham gypsum wallboard plant. The 100t/hour feeder is to be supplied in October 2017 and it has a centre distance of 11.7m. Knauf is extending an existing raw materials reception area, where products arriving by truck are transferred directly by the feeder to an ongoing conveyor to the production facility.
The Samson Feeder presents an alternative to fixed bunker constructions and can receive bulk materials directly from diggers or dumper trucks. The wide conveyor belt design allows a very low loading height so that trucks can discharge directly into the entry section of the unit. Therefore the bulk material can be unloaded and transferred to the plant straight away, with no requirement for interim storage on arrival. If continuous discharge to an ongoing conveyor is not required at any given time, the bulk material can also be stored in the Samson unit.
UK: Claude-Alain Tardy, the president of Saint-Gobain's gypsum and insulation activities, has warned that a UK exit from the European Union (Brexit) could 'destabilise' the wider European economy as well as impacting the UK market. Tardy made the comments while speaking to Building in Prague and Building News then reported his comments. France and western Europe represented 70% or Euro27.7bn of the group's sales revenue in 2015. The UK will hold a referendum on membership of the European Union on 23 June 2016.
UK: Etex Group has merged Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades to create Etex Building Performance UK. The new division will combine technical knowledge and research and development resources in the dry construction sector. Etex intends to create new products aimed at reduced installation times whilst catering to specifiers' requirements.
The division will employ over 500 people, with production sites in Bristol, Yorkshire and County Durham. It will be led by Neil Ash, the managing director of Siniat UK, who will become Head of Etex Building Performance UK. Each company will continue to trade separately in the UK as Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades.
"Our vision is singular - to be the leading expert in dry construction, concentrating our efforts on creating solutions for the buildings of tomorrow. The three brands within Etex Building Performance complement each other and are well known for their innovation, high-quality manufacturing and technical know-how," said Ash.
Siniat produces drywall products and Promat specialises in passive fire protection. Siniat acquired EOS Facades, a provider of Steel Frame Systems, on 8 April 2016,
UK: British Gypsum has partnered with contractor Willmott Dixon to enhance its existing site quality course with a bespoke training programme. As part of a new approach to industry training, British Gypsum built a custom made, full-scale construction site known as the 'Recapping Zone', in which Willmott Dixon employees were tasked with locating over 40 staged faults that could occur in real life scenarios on projects.
British Gypsum took a similar approach to that of a real-life build when constructing the zone, consulting with architects, designers and course facilitators. At present, 436 Willmott Dixon employees have completed the course, and a refresher programme will be run to recap and update the training.
"We worked in close collaboration with Willmott Dixon to deliver the course and also train staff to deliver the course themselves. We combined traditional training methods with hands-on activities to help Willmott Dixon employees take a more practical approach to training in a realistic scenario," said David Hall, National Technical Academy Manager for British Gypsum. "It is our aim to provide the next generation of installers in the interiors sector with information about the latest systems and techniques."
UK: British Gypsum has revealed the winners of its National Trophy Awards, which aim to celebrate craftsmanship and skills in using traditional plaster and modern plasterboard systems.
Now in its 10th year, the awards recognise the contribution that contractors make to the UK construction industry on a daily basis, with accolades presented to the following developments across six categories:
- Norwich Enterprise Centre (Innovation and Sustainability)
- Five Pancras Square, London (Plasterboard)
- Resort World, Birmingham (Commercial)
- Michael Sobell Sports Centre and School, Aberdare (Education, Hospitality & Healthcare)
- Great Minster House, London (Residential)
- Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (Plaster)
"The winning projects were selected due to their commitment to addressing common issues in the construction sector such as reducing carbon, overcoming poor acoustic performance and extending maintenance cycles," commented Alastair Bell, Managing Director of British Gypsum.
The winners will to join more than 33 different countries as UK representatives in the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy Awards in Prague later in 2016.
UK: About 90,000t/yr of testliner capacity will soon be lost from the UK market. DS Smith will close its Wansbrough mill in Somerset, which also produces other products such as gypsum wallboard liner, on 23 December 2015.
DS Smith had announced a possible closure at the end of August 2015. At that time, the company had said the decision had been made after an assessment of the facility's long-term prospects.
The Wansbrough mill operates two paper machines. According to the plant manager, they manufacture roughly 90,000t/yr of testliner III, 30,000t/yr of coreboard, 18,000t/yr of recycled paper for bags, 12,000t/yr of recycled envelope paper and 10,000t/yr of other products such as wallboard liner.
DS Smith operates another paper mill in the UK, the Kemsley mill in Kent, where the company produces corrugated case material on three machines with a total capacity of around 800,000t/yr.