Discovery Channel Canada comes to Exshaw

Dec 19, 2017 | Plant News

Documentary filmmakers from Discovery Channel Canada were onsite this April to produce a series about CP Rail to celebrate Canada 150. The focus on the Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant was on the importance of red shale in the cement-making process, plant operations, market access, and shipping with a focus on the rail line. The documentary is expected to air this December/January.

Lafarge consumes 70,000 tonnes of red shale each year and receives weekly shipments from CP Rail. It is the main source of alumina in the cement mix and is a key ingredient in the manufacturing process. This mix that includes calcium, silica, alumina, and iron. It is one of the raw materials used along with limestone, sandstone, iron ore, and black shale; representing four per cent of the mix. Over the course of the day, videographers captured employees unloading product from the rail delivery, storage onsite, and how the product is transported to the raw mill.

Red shale is a crucial component in our cement-making process, it also has the most complicated journey to get here. It’s mined in Hat Creek, British Columbia, shipped by rail to Exshaw, unloaded by truck to our storage facility, then added to a cement mix that helps meet the growing infrastructure needs of Western Canadian communities.Jim Bachmann, Plant Manager

Red shale plays a vital role in the workability of concrete. Use too little in the mix and it sets slowly, too much and it sets too fast. Getting the right mix is paramount and Lafarge invests in the latest technology and qualified staff to ensure the quality of the product.
During the cement-making process, red shale has a huge impact inside the kiln. It enables chemical reactions to occur during the liquid phase of the process. It also helps build a coating inside the kiln to protect the shell from high temperatures that can damage it.