4 Million-Tpy Plant To Rise Along Mississippi

Holcim (US) Inc. and Holcim Ltd. board members approved commencement of work on a 4 million metric ton per year (mtpy) mill in St. Genevieve County, Missouri.


Holcim (US) Inc. and Holcim Ltd. board members approved commencement of work on a 4 million metric ton per year (mtpy) mill in St. Genevieve County, Missouri. The board actions early last month followed more than six years of dogged efforts to locate a suitable Mississippi River front site and obtain permits from eight state and federal agencies. The permitting process saw strong opposition from environmental and community groups, whose tactics included placement of a billboard showing an oxygen mask-bearing child above the address of a now-defunct Web site, stopholnam.com. (The billboard was placed along a prominent Interstate stretch and part of a campaign launched prior to Holnam’s name change to Holcim.)

Scheduled for start up in 2009, the project will place one of the world’s largest powder mills on a 3,900-acre site about midway between St. Louis and Cape Girardeau. Holcim officials report that the plant will meet emission limits that are among the lowest permitted for any cement operation in the U.S. The company has also set aside an approximately 2,200-acre buffer area Û about 55 percent of total acreage Û to be kept in its natural condition throughout the life of the operation. In advance of heavy construction, Holcim hired a Ste. Genevieve County contractor, Bloomsdale Excavating, to begin preliminary site work this past August.

Prior to the Holcim boards’ approval, company officials reviewed a feasibility study Û factoring cement market and economy changes since plans for the project were announced in 1999 Û conducted after permits were finalized in 2004. Based on the study results, it is clear this project will benefit our customers, the region, and our company. The Ste. Genevieve Plant will allow us to provide a reliable and affordable source of quality cement produced in the middle of the U.S., says Holcim (US) CEO Patrick Dolberg. The project will also be an important boost to the southeastern Missouri economy, he adds, employing 1,000 construction workers at its peak and contributing tax payments upwards of $35 million to Ste. Genevieve County from 2009 Û 2020.

The green light on the Missouri project occurred shortly after Holcim announced plans to study process improvements and new cementitious product development netting an 300,000 mtpy at its Florence, Colo., plant. The facility has been operating at its 1.7 million-mtpy capacity for the past six months, notes Holcim Mountain Region Senior Vice President Paul Harrington. The strength of this market certainly challenged us this year. Peak demand combined with a brief maintenance outage unfortunately required us to put customers on an allocation program for almost two months, he says.

(000 metric tons)
1. Holcim (US)-St. Genevieve, MO 4,000***
2. TXI-Midlothian, TX 3,108
3. Cemex-Victorville, CA 2,727
4. California Portland-Rillito, AZ 2,350**
5. National Cement-Ragland, AL 2,200**
6. TXI-Oro Grande, CA 2,200*
7. Buzzi Unicem-Festus, MO 2,190**
8. Lafarge NA-Alpena, MI 2,164
9. Holcim (US)-Midlothian, TX 2,026
10. Holcim (US)-Holly Hill, SC 1,860

* Estimated year on stream: 2007
** Estimated year on stream: 2008
*** Estimated year on stream: 2009