What is the link between Stevin Rock and RAK Rock?
Stevin Rock was founded in 1975 as a 100% owned subsidiary of Dutch Company Volker Stevin until being acquired by our new parent company, Dragomar, S.P.A., in 1990. That year saw us form a joint venture to support the building of the Ras Laffan Port in Qatar, for which we supplied five million tons of material. In May 1996, the government of RAK purchased Stevin. Until then, RAK Rock and Stevin Rock were two separate companies that competed for projects. RAK Rock remained loyal to its code, which was to supply raw material feed to the cement plants, even though both Stevin Rock and RAK Rock are owned by the government. In October 2007 we discussed the unification of the management of our companies, although the companies remained technically distinct for various strategic business reasons.
What are Stevin Rock's landmark projects?
We were involved in all the megaprojects in Dubai, such as Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, the World Islands, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Metro, Dubai Mall, Dubai International Airport expansion, JBR projects, Dubai Festival City, and Jebel Ali Container Terminal, amongst others. At the moment we are involved in projects such as the Upper Zakkum project, SARB, Das Island by ADNOC, Small Boat Harbour, and the new LNG terminal project in Bahrain.
What are the main export markets?
After the economic downturn in 2009, we decided to diversify our markets and looked at India for a product niche there. When India produces steel in the steel plants, they need flux injected into the furnace, and one of the ingredients to make steel is raw limestone, and that limestone has to be of superb quality in terms of the balance of minerals within it. A Japanese group was looking at building a nickel plant in Madagascar with a Canadian firm. We met and negotiated with them, won the job, and we've been sole suppliers to that nickel plant for the past four years. Around 25% of our production went to markets outside the UAE market. In 2015, we were invited by the Qatari government to discuss the supply for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We signed a QAR1 billion contract, which would make us the largest raw material supplier to Qatar over the next five years, and we would supply around 40 million tons over five years. Along with that, we expanded our capacity, building a new crushing plant for AED150 million, and expanded our harbour for AED30 million. We are now ready to commission our new plant in August 2016, and that will be to supply and support the Qatari market first and foremost. There's also Expo 2020 coming up, and we are already supplying all the ready-mix plants in Dubai that are working on construction projects related to the event. After India and Africa, we decided to expand into Europe. In Ukraine, we talked with a steel plant to discuss supplying limestone, because its supply line had been cut and now we are its sole supplier of limestone. We are also the lead supplier to Bahrain and Kuwait. We supply the cement for a GCC-funded, USD5 billion housing project, and in Kuwait we're supplying limestone to a cement factory there. Our new target is London, and we want to supply materials that are cheaper than the UK's own domestically produced materials. We are building a new deepwater berth for the purpose, which will help us halve the sea transportation cost to London.
How much importance do you attach to environmental standards and eco-friendliness?
In our industry we have to practice the latest and best standards and look for the latest technologies all the time. Therefore, environmental control measures have accounted for around 10% of our capital expenditure over the last five years, during which time we have implemented and maintained an environmental management system that meets all of the requirements of ISO 14001:2004. We work in close cooperation with Ras Al Khaimah Environment Protection and Industrial Development Authority, including introducing across all our sites advanced dust extraction systems that prevent environmental pollution. We have also totally enclosed all primary, secondary, and tertiary crushers, as well as screens, conveyers, and product bins. As well as further improvements in encapsulation, 2016 will see the development of the fogging cannon spray system principle and the trial and subsequent use of wetting, foaming, and crustation additives in dust suppression water.
How would you assess the role of quarries in RAK's economic development?
RAK does not have oil resources; the mountains have been a rich source of raw materials to various industries such as cement, construction, and steel industries in the UAE, Gulf region, and Asia. We have the capacity to produce and sell more than 70 million tons per year of high-grade limestone, gabbro rock, concrete, and asphalt aggregates for the construction and manufacturing markets in the UAE, Gulf region, and Asia.
What are your prospects for the year ahead?
We started our new expansion plans forecasting the demand of aggregates in the GCC and other Asian regions. We are expecting to add a new production line, called crusher 22, producing 12 million tons per annum at the Khor Khuwair quarry. We are also expanding crusher 11, producing an additional 1.5 million tons per annum at Al Ghail quarry. There will also be crusher improvements and expansions targeting the production of an additional 1 million tons per annum at Kadra quarry. We have very good prospects for the next three years with continual improvements in operations to be sought.