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Still no decision on new plant in New Zealand

World Cement,

In New Zealand, plans for Holcim’s new plant in Weston, Oamaru are now three years in, with no firm decisions made as yet. The plant is planned to replace the company’s outmoded facility in Westport, which has the capacity to produce 500 000 tpa of cement. In order to meet national demand, additional cement is imported from Asia.

Obstacles along the way
While the new plant will be more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, it will also be bigger, with a proposed capacity of 880 000 tpa. All in all, this results in a bigger carbon footprint, a long approvals process and a degree of community backlash.
Over the past three years, Holcim has garnered support from some local community groups, with others describing themselves as ‘resigned’ to the construction of the plant. Early in 2008, consent for construction was granted based on specific conditions being met. In August this year, the Environment Court set out further conditions that the plant must meet.

Investment decisions
The most recent news indicates that the company is still considering whether or not to invest in the new plant. At approximately US$364 million, it is a massive investment to make in such turbulent economic times. Holcim New Zealand Ltd’s Capital Projects Manager Ken Cowie said that the final decision will depend on the parent company’s other international investments, the available capital, and the New Zealand government policy. He added that a final investment proposal is unlikely to be submitted until the end of next year.

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