About the Exshaw Plant
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Plant History

Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant History

In 1906, the Western Canadian Cement & Coal Company opened what would become the most innovative and modern cement plant in the world. Nestled at the edge of the Rocky Mountains, the Exshaw plant site was chosen for the abundant quantity and quality of limestone, the availability of nearby power sources and its proximity to the CPR's rail line. 

 

Birth of the Exshaw community - 1906

 

The first people arrived in Exshaw in 1906; hired to build what would become the largest and most advanced industrial plant in the country. Three hundred young men, some with their wives and children, came from all over the world to find work in the rapidly expanding Canadian West. After construction was complete many of the workers moved on while others stayed, attracted by the potential of permanent work at the plant and a place to call home. The new town of Exshaw, meanwhile, benefited from many of the modern advancements of the innovative new plant:

 

  • New buildings were constructed including two-story homes, a hotel, church, general store and school
  • Several thousand feet of water mains were installed
  • Fire hydrants were placed around town
  • A telephone system was installed
  • Household water and sewer service was available
  • Electric street lights and electricity was available for all houses

 

Making cement in the early days - 1906

 

Rock Blasting took place in the mountain above the plant and rocks were hand loaded into small rail cars which travelled downhill to the crusher, the grinders and then into the kilns. Using six 80-foot kilns the plant was able to produce 1,500 - 1,800 barrels of Portland cement per day.

 

In the early years, the half-a-million barrels of cement produced every year had a positive benefit to the local economy but also provided much of the necessary material needed to expand the roads, railways and industrial buildings used to develop Western Canada.

 

The plant was described as a technological wonder of its time, yet in 1908, slow markets, railway strikes and a flawed sales strategy caused the plant to close down. Although workers continued to quarry rock from the mountains above Exshaw it was not until new management and the 1909 amalgamation of ten Canadian cement companies - to form the Canada Cement Company - that the Exshaw plant began to operate again.

 

Modernizations over time

 

Many modernizations took place to keep the plant at the leading edge of technology and productivity.

 

  • The completion of the Seebe dam on 1911 provided inexpensive power to the plant and replaced the coal fired stream generator built in 1906
  • In 1912, the six old kilns were replaced with three more efficient 150-foot coal fired kilns
  • Post war modernizations in the mid-1920's led to a temporary switch from blasting to hydraulic mining
  • The 1940's saw the switch from a dry manufacturing process to the wet process
  • In early 1950's the plant introduced a new mountain top quarry and began using electric shovels, 30 ton trucks and a mobile rotary drill
  • Exshaw was the first company plant to convert from coal to natural gas fired kilns in 1951
  • In 1970 Canada Cement merged with Lafarge Canada to form Canada Cement Lafarge Ltd. This new company would become the largest supplier of cement in Canada and would be a major contributor to the development of Canada's two fastest growing cities, Calgary and Edmonton.
  • In the early 1970's a $30 million expansion and upgrade increased the plant capacity to 500,000 tons. Much of the old plant was demolished and the expansion required the demolition of much of Uptown Exshaw including the elementary school, protestant church and 47 homes.
  • In 1988 Canada Cement Lafarge Ltd. became Lafarge Canada Inc.

 

 

At over 100 years old, Lafarge has a proud and productive cement-making history in the Bow Corridor.

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Lafarge Exshaw

Latest News

Blasting updates

Please visit our new wesite, lafargeexshaw.ca, for blasting upates and more.

 

Blasting update for Octoer 2, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on October 2, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for September 22, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on September 22, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

 

Blasting update for September 15, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on September 15, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for September 7, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on September 7, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for July 28, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on July 28, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 12:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

  

Blasting update for July 25, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on July 25, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for July 17, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on July 17, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

 

Blasting update for July 13, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on July 13, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for July 6, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on July 6, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com

 

Blasting update for June 27, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on June 27, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com.

 

Blasting update for June 22, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on June 22, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com.

 

Blasting update for June 16, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on June 16, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. If you would like to receive email updates on blasting operations,  please contact info.exshaw@lafargeholcim.com.

 

New Air Quality Monitoring Website Launched 

 

Get real-time particulate levels in the community; for more information visit http://airquality.ca/clients/Lafarge_Public/.

 

Blasting update for June 2, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on June 2, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

  

Blasting update for May 12, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on May 12, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

 

Blasting update for May 4, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on May 4, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

 

Blasting update for March 21, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on March 21, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

 

Blasting update for March 20, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on March 20, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

 

Blasting update for March 7, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on March 7, 2017. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

 

Blasting update for February 24,  2017


We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on February 24. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m. 

 

Blasting update for February 23, 2017

 

We will be blasting in the Exshaw quarry on February 23. The blast will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.

  

Gas flaring by Atco Gas - August 28, 2015

 

On August 28 Atco Gas will be on site at the Exshaw Plant to work on the natural gas lines leading to the expansion project. This work will require the flare-off of natural gas. Between 10 and 11 a.m. increased noise may be heard and flaring flames may be visible. These are both normal for the process.

 

 

Yamnuska Blasting Update for April 15, 2015

 

To protect public safety, trails in the Yamnuska area will be closed for the day, Wednesday, April 15 to allow for quarry blasting. See the Yamnuska PDF above for more information.

 

Public Information Notice | Tuesday November 18, 2014

Lafarge uses powdered lime at our operation to control sulfur emissions.  While taking a delivery this morning, the truck driver and our production operator noticed dust coming out of the ground level overflow vent.  The delivery flow was immediately shut off.  (Please note: The ground level overflow vent was added to our facility as a learning in June.  We will further update our processes and procedures based on this experience.)


As a precaution, we have reported this to the regulator.  In addition, we have discussed the incident with the school safety officer and cleaned the playground equipment as a precaution.


At this time, we do not believe that any lime reached the community. However, if you see a white powdered dust that you believe to be lime, please let us know (403-431-0759) so that we can investigate.

 

Lafarge in Exshaw -- Open House

Join us, Wednesday, November 19 from 4 pm to 8 pm in the gym at the Exshaw School to learn more about:

  • Our updated fugitive dust management plan
  • Our expansion timeline and permit amendments
  • Our alternative fuel proposal
  • Our community investment outcomes

This is your opportunity to speak with Lafarge representatives and provide input on our future plans. We hope you can join us.

Light refreshments will be served and we will provide a colouring station for children.

 

Public Information Notice | Wednesday, October 28, 2014

Exshaw expansion construction activities stopped as precautionary measure 

 

Today, the Exshaw construction project site was closed by Lafarge to conduct an investigation into health aspects of paint on materials supplied to us by a major engineering company that supplies machinery, parts, and services, including process engineering and project management, to the global cement industry.

 

The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that was provided to Lafarge showed no cause for concern; however, additional testing of this material shows unsatisfactory lead contents in some paint samples.

 

Potential health concerns are only applicable to those workers not wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment in the vicinity of activities such as grinding or welding.

 

We have reported these concerns to the health and safety as well as environmental regulators.

 

The Exshaw Cement Plant continues to operate normally.  No employees of the plant are affected.

 

If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759 or email her at michelle.gurney@lafarge.com.

 

Public Information Update | Friday, October 24, 2014

 

Close to 50 properties cleaned this week

 

The two cleaning crews are finishing up in Exshaw today.  We believe most of the houses that required cleaning have been taken care of, although we will still accept permission slips into next week. 

 

Lafarge urges all residents who require cleaning to sign their permission slips and return those to us as soon as possible.

 

  • Permission slips can be signed and dropped off at the MD of Bighorn office or at the security trailer at the Lafarge main entrance.

Lafarge thanks its partners at the MD of Bighorn and the community for their patience as we work to coordinate the clean up this material.

 

If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759 or email her at michelle.gurney@lafarge.com.

 

Public Information Update | Tuesday, October 21, 2014

 

Cleaning crews quickly moving through Exshaw

 

Today, four crews were cleaning residential properties in Exshaw. Based on our best estimates, crews will be finished cleaning by Saturday, October 25.

 

Lafarge asks all residents who require cleaning to sign their permission slips and return those to us as soon as possible.

 

 

  • Permission slips can be signed and dropped off at the MD of Bighorn office or at the security trailer at the Lafarge main entrance.
  • Car washing: those who want to wash their cars in Canmore can pick up vouchers at Lafarge's security trailer at our main entrance or at the MD of Bighorn Office.

 

 

Lafarge apologizes. This was an unfortunate accident. Lafarge thanks its partners at the MD of Bighorn and the community for their patience as we work to clean up this material.

 

If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759 or email her at michelle.gurney@lafarge.com.

 

Public Information Update | Monday, October 20, 2014


Hydraulic Fluid release: Incident Follow-up


Lafarge reports there was an incident at the Project at approximately noon, Saturday, October 18, 2014. While the crane supplier, Mammoet, was erecting a large crane as part the construction, there was a failure in the crane’s two shock dampers. This failure caused the release of approximately 41 litres of pressurized hydraulic fluid (Shell TELLUS S3V368). Winds were high and material reached Exshaw. Shell’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) classifies this material as not hazardous (see bottom of page for more information).


Residents may see fine oil droplets on vehicles or property. Right now, we ask that you leave outdoor material in place and avoid contact with these items. The hydraulic fluid is a mineral-based, non-corrosive material that is environmentally friendly, however, Lafarge would like to clean it up. Lafarge has hired EnviroHasmat Emergency Response to work in the community. Today, cleaning the school is our priority, so that children are not near the clean-up equipment once the school reopens.

 

Additional information:
• Playgrounds: playgrounds in public spaces were cleaned Saturday. As a further precaution, the pea gravel in those areas was also raked on Monday, Oct. 20.
• Property cleaning: if you have contacted Lafarge, we have you in our plan for property cleaning. In addition, we have a crew in the community identifying properties that require cleaning. Residents will receive a notification that we want to clean their property and a permission slip. This information will be left near your main property entrance. Lafarge does need written permission to proceed with this work. Permission slips can be signed and dropped off at the MD of Bighorn office or at the security trailer at the Lafarge main entrance.
• Car washing: those who want to wash their cars in Canmore can pick up vouchers at Lafarge’s security trailer at our main entrance or at the MD of Bighorn Office.


Lafarge is working with Alberta Environment and Alberta Health Services.


Lafarge apologizes. This was an unfortunate accident. Lafarge thanks its partners at the MD of Bighorn and the community for their patience as we work to clean up this material.


If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759 or email her at michelle.gurney@lafargeholcim.com.

 

Further instructions:
• If you have concerns about air quality: close your windows; inhalation can cause irritation.
• If you are concerned about skin contact: remove contaminated clothing, flush exposed area with water and follow by washing with soap.
• If you have more health related questions, call the Alberta HealthLink at 1-866-408-5465.


More detail from the MSDS for Shell TELLUS S3V368

 

Health Hazards:
Shell TELLUS S3V368 is not expected to be a health hazard when used under normal conditions. Prolonged or repeated skin contact without proper cleaning can clog the pores of skin resulting in disorders such as oil acne/folliculitis.

 

Safety Hazards:
Not classified as flammable but will burn.

 

Environmental Hazards:
Not classified as dangerous for the environment.

 

 

Public Information Update

Hydraulic Fluid release, October 19, 2014 at noon| Incident Follow-up

EnviroHasmat Emergency Response to provide cleaning services in Exshaw

Lafarge reports there was an incident at the Project at approximately noon, Saturday, October 18, 2014. While erecting a large crane as part of construction, there was a failure in the crane's two shock dampers. This failure caused the release of approximately 41 litres of pressurized hydraulic fluid (Shell TELLUS S3V368). Winds were high and material reached Exshaw. Shell's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) classifies this material as not hazardous (see bottom of page for more information).

 

Residents may see fine oil droplets on vehicles or property. Right now, we ask that you leave outdoor material in place and avoid contact with these items. The hydraulic fluid is a mineral-based, non-corrosive material that is environmentally friendly, however, Lafarge would like to clean it up. Lafarge has hired EnviroHasmat Emergency Response to work in the community. The Project team is working on a plan for clean up right now and we will let the community know the schedule as soon as it is available. Today, cleaning the school is our priority. Playgrounds in public spaces were cleaned yesterday. We are also providing vouchers to those who want to wash their cars in Canmore. Those can be picked up at the Security Trailer at the main entrance to Lafarge.

 

Lafarge has been in contact with Alberta Environment and Alberta Health Services.

 

Lafarge apologizes. This was an unfortunate accident. If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759 or email her at michelle.gurney@lafarge.com.

 

Please note:

 

  • In today's information update we have increased the amount of fluid released from 20 to 41 litres based on our most up-to-date information.

 

Furture instructions:

 

  • If you have concerns about air quality: close your windows; inhalation can cause irritation.
  • If you are concerned about skin contact: remove contaminated clothing, flush exposed area with water and follow by washing with soap.
  • If you have more health related questions, call the Alberta HealthLink at 1-866-408-5465.

 

More detail from the MSDS for Shell TELLUS S3V368

Health Hazards:

Shell TELLUS S3V368 is not expected to be a health hazard when used under normal conditions. Prolonged or repeated skin contact without proper cleaning can clog the pores of skin resulting in disorders such as oil acne/folliculitis.

 

Safety Hazards:

Not classified as flammable but will burn.

 

Environmental Hazards:

Not classified as dangerous for the environment.

 

Public Information Update

Hydraulic Fluid release, October 18, 2014 at 4:20 p.m.| Incident Report

 

Lafarge reports there was an incident at the Project at approximately noon today. While erecting a large crane, there was a failure in the hydraulic system. This failure caused the release of approximately 20 litres of pressurized hydraulic fluid (Shell TELLUS S3V368). Winds were high and material reached Exshaw. Shell's Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) classifies this material as not hazardous (see bottom of page for more information).

 

Residents may see fine oil droplets on vehicles or property. Right now, we ask that you leave outdoor material in place and avoid contact with these items.

 

Lafarge has been in contact with Alberta Environment and Alberta Health Services.

 

The Project team is working on a plan for clean up right now.

 

Lafarge apologizes. This was an unfortunate accident. If you have questions or concerns, please call Michelle Gurney at 403.431.0759.

 

Further instructions: 

  • If you have concerns about air quality: close your windows; inhalation can cause irritation.
  • If you are concerned about skin contact: remove contaminated clothing, flush exposed area with water and follow by washing with soap.
  • If you have more health related questions, call the Alberta HealthLink at 1-866-408-5465.

 

More detail from the MSDS for Shell TELLUS S3V368

 

Health Hazards:

Shell TELLUS S3V368 is not expected to be a health hazard when used under normal conditions. Prolonged or repeated skin contact without proper cleaning can clog the pores of skin resulting in disorders such as oil acne/folliculitis.

 

Safety Hazards:

Not classified as flammable but will burn.

 

Environmental Hazards:

Not classified as dangerous for the environment.

 

Construction Update for September 30, 2014

To meet project timelines, construction activities for the Exshaw Expansion Project will now take place around the clock. Based on our goals to work safely and respect our relationship with stakeholders, we plan to engage in low-risk and low-noise activities during the night shift. We do not expect noise from these activities to be heard beyond the boundaries of the site, however, if you have any concerns please contact Michelle Gurney (michelle.gurney@lafarge.com).

 

Blasting Update for June 24, 2014

At approximately 5 p.m. on June 24, 2014 we will be blasting in our quary. This blast will take place later than usual to accommodate project logistics.

 

Blasting Update for June 9, 2014

 

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on June 9, 2014 we will be blasting the next entrance road into the quarry. This blast will take place approximately one hour later than our normal blast times to accommodate project logistics.

 

Public Announcement, Friday May 9, 2014

At 2 p.m., Friday, May 9, Lafarge will be making an announcement about a new community giving program that will benefit families in Exshaw and Lac des Arc. The announcement will take place at the MD office in the Council Chamber. Public is welcome.

 

Blasting Update for March 8, 2014

As a courtesy to our neighbours, we typically do not blast on Saturdays. This Saturday, however, we need to make an exception. We intend to blast in the quarry at approximately 2 p.m., Saturday March 8, 2014.

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