Ciment Quebec Inc. (CQI) owns one of the most modern cement factories in North America. CQI makes many types of cement that it distributes in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes and the United States. CQI is vertically integrated into the ready-mixed concrete and aggregates sectors. Ciment Quebec Inc. employs more than 700 skilled and experienced people, who produce high-quality products. They provide services to clients, and are committed to upholding the company’s reputation for excellence.
It all began around the end of the forties, when cement was a rare commodity in Canada. Gustave Papillon and his father, Ernest-J. Papillon, started on this great adventure in cement production in 1947, after using cement for the first time to expand a farm building. Gustave Papillon became interested in cement-making, and over the next two years, he developed a plan to build a cement plant, perfect the chemistry of the process, and find the equipment required to produce cement in Canada and the United States.
Gifted in mechanics, he applied his abilities and in 1949 spoke about his plans to his father, Ernest J. Papillon, who was a real-estate broker, able to finance the project. After coming to a mutual agreement, the father and son started producing cement. The company was set up in their birthplace of Saint-Basile-de-Portneuf, noted for its quality limestone in quantities that could supply the business for a long time.
Plant construction started in 1949, and by 1951, 100 tonnes of cement were being produced daily. The company began as Les Industries Calcaires Inc., and changed to Ciment Quebec Inc. in 1953. Overtime, the company went through five major expansions, as it added more powerful heating lines.
Competition increased with the arrival of new cement companies and plants in Quebec. Following the oil crisis in the early seventies, CQI decided to build a new cement plant on the St-Basile site. By replacing the costly, energy-consuming wet process with a dry process, using a pre-heater and calcining furnace, the process became more effective in terms of production, costs, and environmental considerations. The new plant began operations in 1983. Modernization of the process made the plant the most cost-effective and innovative in Quebec. The massive investments resulted in its cement facilities being among the most productive in North America.
In the mid sixties, CQI acquired one of the oldest quarries in North America, founded by the Jesuits in Beauport, near Quebec City. Notarized documents confirm that as far back as 1670, the quarry provided the limestone and lime needed to build the houses and buildings of the City of Quebec, along with the facilities of the Séminaire de Québec.
This initial acquisition in the ready-mixed concrete and aggregate sectors was quickly followed by other acquisitions throughout Quebec.
Later, the company brought its various concrete operations under the umbrella of its Materials Division with brand names of Unibeton, Beton Miroc and Beton Mercier. The Group’s quarry and gravel pit operations were integrated into its Material Division, under the name of Unibeton.
In 1993, CQI signed a business partnership agreement with ESSROC Canada, a subsidiary of ESSROC Corp in the United States, which itself was a subsidiary of Ciments Français, a member of the fifth largest group in the world, the Italcementi Group. Through this transaction, CQI integrated the assets of ESSROC Canada held in Quebec, which were primarily known under the name Miron. Italcementi Group’s worldwide assets, including the investment in Ciment Québec, were purchased by HeidelbergCement in summer 2016. It is in December 2018 that, as part of worldwide strategic reorientations, HeidelbergCement sold back to Papillon Group its investment into Ciment Québec.
To maintain the cement plant’s excellent operation and environment performance standards, the company continues to invest in modern equipment, such as eco-furnace, eco-energetic technologies and a waste recycling centre.