Semen Gresik Factory – It is said that during the Sunan Giri era, there was a belief that there were treasures stored in the bowels of the earth Gresik. The area that was promised to have the treasure was named Kebomas. The name literally means the Golden Buffalo.
The buffalo is like a source of energy, namely the giver while gold is a source of wealth. Hundreds of years passed, in the promised hamlet, people unearthed the treasure in the form of materials for cement making.
The history of the factory
The effort to build a cement factory in Gresik has actually been initiated decades ago. In fact, this desire has arisen since the Dutch era. It was a Dutch geologist, Ir Van Es, who for the first time described the potential ‘treasure’ that is stored behind the hilly nature of Gresik. In 1935, Van Es who worked at the Bandung Geological Bureau wrote a report entitled Hoofdgelohisch Technische
Onderzoekingen. The report states that the hills that decorate the face of Gresik have quality limestone. The report also recommends that Gresik is suitable for setting up a Cement Factory. In 1943, the Dutch colonial government tried to follow up on the report. A plan has been prepared. Unfortunately, the plan failed to be implemented because of the outbreak of World War II.
During the Revolution period, the plan was continued by the Government of Indonesia. Armed with Van Es’ report, Vice President Moh Hatta ordered the start of a review of the construction of a cement factory. To strengthen the study, two German mining experts Dr. F Laufer and A Kraeff drilled to obtain more accurate geological data.
In January 1951, the two of them summarized the drilling results in a report entitled Result of Investigation by core drilling of the Pliocene limestone near Gresik. The report presents data that the limestone deposits surveyed are sufficient for the supply of a Cement Plant with a production capacity of 250 thousand tons per year, for a period of 60 years.
The Indonesian government then appointed the State Industrial Bank (BIN) to prepare a source of funding for factory construction. For foreign currency needs, credit from the United States Exim Bank is used. After everything was ready, on March 25, 1953, a legal Bentul was prepared to oversee the project along with the establishment of the legal entity N.V Semen Gresik Factory. The deed of establishment was recorded at the notary office of Raden Meester Soewandi in Jakarta.
President Commissioner at the Ministry of Industry
As preparation for development, the team was initially assigned to a design team from White Engineering United States. Then followed by Mac Donald Engineering. On September 15, 1953, a team of designers from the US arrived in Gresik to determine the location and pattern of the factory. The plant design was submitted to G A Anderson while detailed planning was drawn up by HK Ferguson Company. During that year, the Geotehnik Section of the Ministry of Public Works and Energy also carried out intensive drilling.
Finally, in April 1955, the construction of the Semen Gresik Factory began. This project stands on a land area of 412 hectares. In the first stage, the factory is designed with a production capacity of 250 thousand tons per year with two furnaces. This development is 73 days ahead of the planned time.
The total budget needed for development was USD 14.5 million and IDR 512 million (the exchange rate at that time). At the same time, a total of 25 technicians and administrative staff from the Semen Gresik Factory NV were sent abroad to receive training. A total of 22 people were sent to the US on scholarships from the ICA and the rest were sent to Canada on the Colombo Plan scholarships.
Entering March 1957, Semen Gresik was in the trial operation period. Welcoming the operation, the Government of Indonesia is also conducting management restructuring. On April 1, 1957, the former Governor of Nusatenggara, Sarimin Reksodiharjo was appointed as President Director. Meanwhile, the President Commissioner was appointed by Ir Darmawan Mangunkusumo with four members, namely Mr. Soemanang, Sardju Ismunandar, Mr. Ismail Thayeb, Soedarno, and Soenggono.
Technically and the management were ready, on August 7, 1957, the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir Soekarno, came to Gresik and inaugurated the operation of the Semen Gresik Factory. In his remarks, Ir Soekarno was very proud that Indonesians were able to build a Cement Factory. Since then, August 7 is celebrated as the Birthday of Semen Gresik which is celebrated every year.
The Strategic Role of the Semen Gresik Factory
The existence of Semen Gresik has a strategic role. This is the first Cement Factory on the island of Java, complementing the existing West Sumatra Indarung Cement Factory. Next, Semen Gresik has a vital role in supplying the needs of cement for infrastructure development in Java, which is progressing rapidly.
After it was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno on August 17, 1957, the Semen Gresik factory immediately started operating. According to the initial setting, the production target of 250 thousand tons per year can be achieved. The presence of Semen Gresik complements the existing existence of Semen Padang.
The presence of Semen Gresik did not only raise the spirit of nationality, but the fact that Semen Gresik was strategically located was enough to make President Soekarno proud. He is even more and more grounded in the dream of all Indonesians, standing on their own feet.
From an economic point of view, Semen Gresik is considered to be more strategic. It cannot be separated from its existence on the island of Java. Moreover, the factory location is on the main road transportation route from Surabaya to Jakarta.
Lighthouse Project Using Semen Gresik
At that time, Semen Gresik products were believed to be used in lighthouse projects in Jakarta. For example, the construction of the National Monument (Monas), Semanggi Bridge, Conefo Building, Hotel Indonesia, Istiqlal Mosque, and several other projects.
Public trust has strengthened after Semen Gresik was also used for the Jatiluhur dam megaproject in West Java. At that time the French contractor leading the project sent samples of several cement products to Paris to be used to build a dam. “As a result, the quality of Semen Gresik was the best and it was decided to be used in the project.
Capacity increased to 14 million tonnes/year
After 56 years of existence, in 2013, the cement plant capacity of Indonesia reached 14 million tons/year and was recorded as the largest cement factory production capacity in the world. Meanwhile, for Semen Indonesia Group, the total capacity in 2013 reached 30 million tons, consisting of factory capacity in Padang reaching 6.4 million tons/year, Tonasa 7 million tons/year plus a factory in Vietnam. At this time also PT. Semen Indonesia (Persero) Tbk has become the largest cement company in Southeast Asia in terms of capacity.