S&B Industrial Minerals S.A. inaugurated its new warehouse for processed bentonite on Sunday, October 2, 2011. Metropolitan Archbishop of Syros, Tinos, Milos Dorotheos B’ held a sanctification ceremony and the Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change Special Secretary Mrs Margarita Karavassili, the Mayor of Milos Mr Gerasimos Damoulakis and the Chairman of S&B’s BoD Mr Ulysses Kyriacopoulos inaugurated the warehouse. Representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change, of local authorities and organizations and members of the local society were also present.
The processed bentonite warehouse is a unique type of infrastructure internationally, designed and constructed especially for S&B’s facilities on Milos. The investment, amounting to €10 million, aims at minimizing the environmental impact from the handling (transportation – storing) of dried bentonite, while at the same time provides for operational benefits for the product’s handling within the Voudia facilities. Until now, processed bentonite was stored at an open air area, and it was moved within the facility by trucks; ship loading was carried out with loaders and conveyor belts. With the new warehouse, storing as well as handling and transportation to the loading bridge will be realized within an enclosed space for the majority of the product, resulting in a dramatic expected reduction in dust emissions, reaching standards that supersede legislative limits and outperform conditions set by the facility’s permits. Operational efficiencies are also expected from the closed warehouse that will contribute to the competitiveness of the Milos installations.
Construction of the warehouse began in 2007 following very high technical standards, which were set after careful examination of multiple alternatives, so as to achieve the optimal solution with respect to environmental and operational considerations. The 40,000 tons capacity warehouse has been constructed with reinforced concrete and consists of 20 closed compartments. The transportation of bentonite from the drying facility is made on enclosed conveyor belts, while unloading is carried out through an underground conveyor belt system. The warehouse is equipped with de-dusting filters, while completely automated systems ensure optimum storage and handling of the product, maximum protection of the environment, of the working area and the workers themselves.
During the inauguration event, S&B’s Chief Executive Officer Kriton Anavlavis stated: “We are very proud to inaugurate a state of the art warehouse, best-in-class in the industrial minerals world, that improves bentonite handling. This €10 million investment, our largest worldwide to date, does not provide adequate financial return. It does, however, pay tribute to our Company Values: keeping our promises; respect for our people; safety; serving our customer needs and, particularly, respect for the local communities where we operate. In spite of the difficulties faced in Greece today, we continue on our positive course without compromise, always focused on our values”.