Table Speech

Initiation Speech

April 27, 2011
Initiation Speech by Mr.Kato does not appear

Mr. Kato Eisuke
Mr. Taro Irimajiri

“History of Lime”

                 Mr. Taro Irimajiri
                 President, Irimajiri Group Inc.

 My speech will be on lime and its various uses in our daily life. We are all familiar with the white powder used to draw lines in school playgrounds. Massive amounts of this white powder called “slaked lime” were used to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease and avian flu in Miyazaki Prefecture quite recently.

 Quicklime (calcium oxide) is produced by burning limestone at high temperature using heavy oil and coke. Slaked lime (calcium hydrate) is produced by adding water to this quicklime. The term “lime” refers to both quicklime and slaked lime and is used to differentiate between the raw material “limestone.” It is believed that limestone (calcium carbonate) was formed as massive pressure increased the density and hardness of coral reefs over millions of years.

 200 million tons of limestone is extracted at 300 mines (major mines located in Tochigi, Gifu, Yamaguchi, Oita, and Kochi Prefectures), making it the sole self-sufficient underground mineral resource in this country. The Japanese limestone quality is the world’s highest level, with high concentration of calcium.

 Local documents in Kochi Prefecture, where we have our mine, prove that lime production started in the 17th century, during the early Edo Era. Our company started business in 1819. We are fortunate to have been in business nearly 200 years, as we were blessed with the high-quality limestone and the wide-ranging uses of lime.

 Lime is mainly used for the steel business, chemical industry, construction and agriculture. Massive amounts of both limestone and quicklime are used in steel production, making steel output the greatest concern for the lime industry. In the chemical industry, lime is the raw material of soda ash and caustic soda, which are used to produce glass, detergents, synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber, silicon and industrial chemicals. Lime is used in many parts of automobiles, ranging from the body, bumpers, windows, tyres to plastic panels and seats.

 Looking at our daily life, slaked lime is used to remove impurities in the process of sugar refining. It is also used as coagulating agent of konjak. Lime helps to keep pickled ume in your lunchbox crunchy.

 As you can see, lime is used for wide-ranging purposes. When it comes to the price, lime is quite inexpensive. One kilogram of limestone costs about 2 yen, while slaked lime and quicklime cost about 20 yen/kg. I would be happy if you could note this low-priced, high-quality lime with multiple-utility as the “unsung hero” that renders precious service to the society.