Cement Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cement Industry


one of the leading sectors of the building materials industry, producing various types of cement, such as Portland, portland blast-furnace slag, portland-pozzolan, and special cements; the last category includes decorative, oil-well, aluminous, sulfate-resistant, and quick-hardening cements and cement for hydraulic engineering structures. A basic binding material, cement is widely used in the national economy, primarily in the production of concrete, reinforced concrete, and mortars, and in the asbestos cement, petroleum, and other industries.

The first plant in Russia for the production of portland cement was built in 1839 in St. Petersburg, where another, larger plant was constructed in 1856. Other plants were later built in Riga (1865–36), Shchurovo (1870), Kunda (Punane-Kunda, 1870), Podol’sk (1873–74), Novorossiisk (1882), Amvrosievka (1896), and Vol’sk (1897). The distribution of cement enterprises was extremely uneven: the Novorossiisk, Vol’sk, and Ukrainian groups of plants accounted for almost half of all cement production, and those in the East produced less than 5 percent. In 1913 cement production in Russia totaled 1,777,000 tons. Production dropped sharply during World War I; only 36,000 tons was produced in 1920.

Table 1. Total cement production in the USSR (tons)
1940 ...............5,773,000
1950 ...............10,194,000
1960 ...............45,520,000
1970 ...............95,248,000
1976 ...............124,246,000

For practical purposes, the cement industry as a major, independent sector was built during the years of Soviet power. During the years of the first five-year plans (1929—40), old plants were renovated, and several new ones were established, including the Podgorenskii, Kaspi, and Kuvasai plants. As a result, cement production in 1928 surpassed the 1913 level and by 1940 reached 5,773,000 tons. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, some plants were occupied by the enemy, and others were destroyed, which caused production to drop significantly—to 1,845,000 tons in 1945; by 1948, however, production had already surpassed the 1940 level.

Industrialization and the high rate of capital construction demanded accelerated development of the cement industry. Existing enterprises were expanded, and new ones were built. Fifty-six new plants were put into operation between 1946 and 1975, including such major enterprises as the Pikalevo, Belgorod, Nikolaev, Sebriakovo, Karaganda, Angarsk, Chimkent, Ul’ianovsk, Achinsk, Topki, Staryi Oskol, and Kamenets-Podol’skii plants.

In 1962 the USSR became the world leader in cement production; in 1971 production in the country reached 100 million tons (see Table 1).

Table 2. Cement production per capita in the USSR (kg)
1940 ...............30
1960 ...............212
1965 ...............313
1970 ...............392
1976 ...............484

Cement production per capita has increased considerably (see Table 2). Based on this index, the USSR has led such developed countries as the USA (330 kg) and Great Britain (285 kg) since 1966.

The raw material base for the cement industry is the calcareous and argillaceous rock widely found in deposits in the USSR. In addition to natural raw materials, the cement industry uses waste materials from other sectors of industry: metallurgical slag, ash from state regional hydroelectric power plants and steam power plants, overburden from the extraction of minerals, pyrite cinders, and phosphogypsum. Some plants, such as the Pikalevo, Achinsk, and Volkhov plants, use nepheline slag. The resulting high level of cooperation between the cement industry and appropriate sectors of the national economy ensures the integrated use of raw materials and waste products. The location of deposits of raw materials and the universal need for cement have made it

Table 3. Cement production in foreign socialist countries (million tons)
Bulgaria ...............
Czechoslovakia ...............
German Democratic Republic ...............
Hungary ...............
Poland ...............6.612.219.8
Rumania ...............
Yugoslavia ...............

necessary to build cement plants in different regions of the country. In the 1970’s cement industries were established in all the Union republics and major economic regions. The production of cement in the eastern regions of the country has risen significantly, from 19.5 percent of the total production in 1940 to 34.5 percent in 1975.

A high level of production concentration is characteristic of the cement industry. The unit capacity of enterprises rose from 131,000 tons in 1940 to 1.3 million tons in 1975. The sector’s largest enterprises are the cement combine Novorostsement in Novorossiisk (capacity, 4.6 million tons), the production association Vol’sktsement (4.2 million tons), the Balakleia combine (3.7 million tons), the Kamenets-Podol’skii plant (3.7 million tons), and the Staryi Oskol plant (3.7 million tons).

The cement industry is a highly mechanized sector of the national economy. Many plants, such as the Novorostsement combine and the Lipetsk, Karaganda, Balakleia, and Chimkent plants, have introduced automated control systems for production processes. An automated production system is in operation at the P. A. Iudin Sebriakovo Cement Plant. During the ninth five-year plan (1971–75), in conformity with the plan for technological

Table 4. Cement production in selected capitalist countries (million tons)
France ...............14.329.029.4
Federal Republic of Germany ...............24.938.333.5
Great Britain ...............13.517.116.9
Italy ...............
Japan ...............22.557.265.5
USA ...............56.167.461.8

reequipping of the sector, much work was done to modernize and replace existing equipment and introduce new, highly productive units. New units for the wet process of production include 5 × 185 m kilns with outputs up to 1,800 tons of clinker per day and a new 7 × 230 m kiln with an output of 3,000 tons of clinker per day, which was put into operation in 1973. The first heavy-duty dry-process kiln went into operation in 1975; it features dimensions of 7.0–6.4 × 95 m, external heat exchangers, and an output of 3,000 tons of clinker per day. Gidrofol selfgrinding mills have also been introduced. Labor productivity in the cement industry rose by a factor of more than 2.5 between 1961 and 1976.

Poland, Rumania, and the German Democratic Republic lead the foreign socialist countries in cement production (see Table 3).

Among the capitalist countries, the cement industry is most highly developed in the USA, Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, and France. The Japanese cement industry is developing rapidly (see Table 4).


Grishmanov, I. A. Promyshlennost’ stroitel’nykh materialov na rubezhe novoi piatiletki. Moscow, 1971.
Liusov, A. N. Tsementnaia promyshlennost’ SSSR: Sostoianie i perspektivy razvitiia. Moscow, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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