The authorities trust in wood-fired kilns to relaunch the brick industry in Granma

The authorities trust in wood-fired kilns to relaunch the brick industry in Granma

HAVANA, Apr 22.  Amid the disaster revealed by housing construction data, two provinces were praised last week by the authorities

for achieving “the indicated increase in the production of fired red ceramics.”

That day it was not said which ones, but from the report published this Sunday by Granma it is deduced that one of them is precisely the one that bears the same name as the official newspaper of the Communist Party.

The Pokarce ecological oven, a Local Development Project that manufactures bricks and other elements with fired clay for construction, collects a good amount of praise for its contribution to improving the worrying residential situation of the territory, although it is an exception.

There are 13 municipalities of Granma with artisanal temporary ovens for the manufacture of materials. One of its promoters, Luis Jiménez Perea, explains that the yield is also extensive, since he manufactures 10,000 bricks in 11 hours without electricity or fuel, although also at the expense of firewood.

“With these kilns, we have managed to produce, in the first quarter of the year alone, more than 870,000 bricks, which are equivalent to about 25 basic cells, in addition to making 1,000 vault covers,” the company says. The same kilns power nine mills in the province to produce lime from clay, zeolite and limestone quarries. With this, the cement is spread.

The same kilns power nine mills in the province to produce lime from clay, zeolite and limestone quarries.

The idea is, says Juan Miguel Téllez Beltrán, deputy director of Production of the Construction Materials Company, that there are more kilns of this type to make 6,000 to 10,000 bricks in one firing, of the three per month that this technology allows.

One of the nine planned that is already very advanced is that of the state company on the outskirts of Bayamo. This “efficient oven” will be the first in the province and will allow us to do without fuel. “This oven is going to generate more quantity and quality in our productions,” says Alexis Machado Álvarez, who highlights the paradigm shift.

“With the old furnaces, which date back more than 50 years, we needed about 5,000 liters of diesel for each burn; That is to say, two burnings were about 10,000 liters of fuel, with the impact that this also had on the brick production costs, while now only firewood is required, with quantities per burning that are not significant.”

The oven has two of its three construction phases and will soon operate solely by burning wood, they point out. To do this, it is assumed that you will receive some of the authorizations that must be granted by the authorities, according to the Forest Law, to use these resources or carry out any other type of logging.

Between 2001 and 2021, deforestation has been increasing in Cuba, where in two decades 0.4% of the territory (about 41,000 hectares) was lost, to which must be added those that have been burned in large fires between 2021 and 2023. .

It is not the only experience promoted by the ruling party. The venture, led by the couple formed by Karina Milanés Silvera and Yunier Porto Piña, has managed to place its productions in Public Health institutions and other private businesses.

The company has this type of oven – an inverted draft – that uses firewood with injected air to improve combustion. The result is about 4,000 screeds – to waterproof roofs – and about 6,000 bricks per day.

Although the prices do not appear in the note, the promoter of the initiative affirms that they are “affordable” and the demand is “constant.”

“We had the license and we had to pay it every month, but they did not sell us the raw material nor did they allow us to extract it”

However mobilizing these resources has become a priority for the Government, which sees how the rest of the materials are scarce and has decided to promote ceramics for national construction and leave cement and more noble materials for export or large public works.

In Granma, the steel and cement plan is only 45% fulfilled, according to Sulaida Magdelín Ferrales Cover, general director of the company in the province.

The province has, she affirms, clay, wood, limestone, zeolite and recycled plastic, which allow “reinforcing the local construction production program”, although some resources could be exploited more if there were fuel, the director regrets.