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First hurdle cleared as Lafarge Ravena plant advances modernisation project

World Cement,

Lafarge’s cement plant in Ravena has now been accepted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as the Final Environmental Impact Statement is regarded as complete.

The application signifies the end of one step in the years-long effort to modernise the cement plant’s operation and the beginning of another more exciting phase.

The FEIS includes the Title Five Air permit and State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits.

John Reagan, the Lafarge Environmental Manager, noted that following a “mandatory 10-day waiting period”, the DEC can issue their Findings Statement.

Soon after, the company hopes to get permits for the modernisation project construction, which could start as early as this autumn with grounds preparation, grading and drainage.

According to Reagan, the permits include modifications to the existing permits for the two wet-kilns as well as conditions for the proposed replacement dry kiln. The overall aim of the new cement-making equipment is for the plant to be more energy efficient.

The DEC reported that the plant’s dry kiln with its 525 ft. preheater/precalciner tower and grinding mill upgrades, will decrease electrical demand and greenhouse gas emissions per t of clinker produced. It will also significantly lower mercury emissions.

The modernisation operation represents an investment of more than US$300 million and will bring in hundreds of temporary construction jobs to the local area, as well as maintaining the current workforce of roughly 180.

The DEC accepted the company’s draft Environmental Impact Statement back in August 2008. In November 2010, it was made available for public comment and a legislative hearing was held in January, 2011.

The document was then forwarded to the US Environmental Protection Agency for a mandatory 45-day review in April 2011, which ended in mid-June. According to Reagan, the EPA provided no further comments.

Over two dozen environmental factors were addressed in the FEIS including sensitivity to noise, air quality, efficiency and public health.

The new plant’s production increase will be significant, rising from around 1.7 million tpa to 2.8 million tpa.

During the construction phase, two old kilns will continue operating and will not shut down until the new one is up and running sometime in 2014.

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