The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]
The New Zealand Portland Cement Company, Ltd.
The New Zealand Portland Cement Company, Ltd., limestone Island, Whangarei. Directors: Messrs Charles Haynes, J.P., John Blair (late of Nimmo and Blair), John Peterson, Merchant, Matthew Begg, M.E., C. A. Ziele, J. R. Gray, and J. B. Macfarlane. Bankers: Bank of New Zealand. Solicitor: Mr. J. F. M. Fraser. Secretaries: A. J. C. Brown, Dun-edin, and H. R. Cooke, 76, Victoria Arcade, Auckland, Capital, £10,000 in 10,000 shares of £1 each. The New Zealand Portland Cement Company was formed in September, 1896, and subsequently registered under “The Companies Act of 1882.” It purchased the business previously carried on by Messrs Rutherfurd and Co., lime, cement and hematite manufacturer, at Limestone Island, Whangarei, Auckland, New Zealand. The property, sitnated seven miles from Whangarei and half a mile from Grahamstown, contains about ninety-three acres and is help under a lease which expires in 1908. Owing to the small rental, £80 per annum, and to the fact that the lease contains a clauses giving the company the right to purchase at the price of £2000 at any time during the currency of the lease, the company does not intend to purchase the freehold till the expiration of the term. The plant consists of buildings, machinery, kilns and wharf, with every adjunet and accessory for the weekly manufacture of forty-five tons of cement, and from fifty to sixty tons of hydraulic lime and three tons of hematite. A first class plant on the latest lines for the manufacture of Portland cement has been erected. This has been fitted up in a thoroughly systematic manner, and shows that Mr. Hall (who supervised the construction) thoroughly understands the business. The foundations throughout are of concrete, and an eighty horse-power engine (with surface condensing apparatus) by the New Zealand Engineering Company, Dunedin, supplies the motor power, the boiler being by Morgan and Cable of Port Chalmers. The buildings are lofty, roomy, and well equipped and include boiler-house, engine-room, mill-house, stone-sheds and store houses, together with a brick-making department. The island is situated on the East Coast of the Colony about eighty miles from Auckland and has an unequalled position. It is served by the Northern Steamship Company, whose boats call at Whangarei three times a week. The tidal river in which the island is situated forms a natural harbour, and vessels drawing twelve feet of water can come alongside the wharf. This admits of coal and other necessaries being brought to the island and the cement manufactured taken away by the cheapest means of conveyance, with only one handling. The stone is even in texture and contains no impurities or any substance injurious to cement. So much is this the case that it is unnecessary to make any selection, and the stone can be taken as it comes from the face. Sir James Hector describes the island thus:—“Limestone Island composed of upper cretaceous strata mostly suitable for hydraulic cement—namely, Portland Cement; supply practically unlimited.” The stone is obtained by quarrying and the face of the quarry is only twenty yards from the works, and rises gradually for about 200 feet. The deposit is in an ideal situation in point of economy of production. From the various collieries on the mainland an excellent bituminous coal can be landed at 12s a ton. The raw material is delivered by gravitation at the works. Vessels drawing twelve feet can be loaded at the island wharf, and with an extension of forty feet the ordinary trading steamer could call for cargo with ease. Water carriage can thus be secured to all parts of the Colony at small expense—a great consideration in handling a bulk product. The climate is exceptionally mild and agreeable, and permits of the manufacture being proceeded with the whole year round—a very great advantage. From a careful estimate the cost of production should not exceed 35s a ton f.o.b., a rate that cannot be touched in the Colony, and at the present selling price, £3 18s per ton, the profits of the Company, after deducting freight, etc., should yield a handsome dividend on capital invested. In addition to freight, insurance, and other expenses incidental to imported cement, all cement made in New Zealand has the benefit of the duty, 2s per barrel—about 12s per ton, now handicapping foreign competitors. This estimate of cost is based on an output of thirty-five tons a week. By working two shifts, the cost of manufacture would be reduced to 30s per ton. There is a large and increasing demand for Portland cement for building, mining and public works generally. From official statistics the average annual importation of cement into the Colony is about 67,110 casks (about 215 tons per week). The House of Representatives has recently instructed the Public Works Department that cement made in New Zealand shall have the preference over all imported cement, quality and price being equal.