Arizona’s Drake Cement consummates Peruvian parent’s U.S. entry

Sources: Drake Cement, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Cementos Lima, S.A., Peru; CP staff

By Don Marsh

Officials of the Southwest’s newest integrated player have scheduled a June 17 grand opening for a $300 million, 600,000-plus tons/year capacity cement plant in northern Arizona. More than 10 years in the making, Drake Cement is located in Yavapai County, near the historic rail town of Paulden and 35 miles north of Prescott.

Arizona’s first greenfield mill in more than 50 years will reduce the state’s need for imported cement materials, which at the 2005-06 peak reached 50 percent of market consumption. Its high capacity, rail switching line along the BNSF mainline, plus proximity to Interstate 40 and (Phoenix-Las Vegas) U.S. 93 corridors, will enable Drake Cement to ship powder at competitive transportation rates. “In this market, you have to be very efficient, both operationally and logistically,” says Senior V.P. of Sales & Marketing Brad Belt. “The location and operating efficiency of this plant allow us to be competitive and provide materials in a significant radius.”

The formal Drake Cement launch caps the U.S. arrival of Cementos Lima, Peru’s largest cement producer. During 2007-10 mill construction, the company built a 13-plant ready mixed platform from Las Vegas to Phoenix. Anchoring the Drake Materials business are the assets of Maricopa Ready Mix in Phoenix, acquired in 2009, plus Sunshine Concrete & Materials, a ready mixed and aggregates producer serving Yavapai and Mohave counties, acquired in 2007. The Drake concrete, aggregate and cement operations in Nevada and Arizona overlap those of CalPortland Co., whose 1.4 million ton/year Rillito, Ariz., plant is the market’s main cement source.

Cementos Lima has a 90 percent stake in Skanon Investment Inc., which in turn has an 89 percent interest in Drake Cement and Drake Materials. Another Cementos Lima subsidiary, Transportes Lurin S.A., is pursuing a $50 million cement terminal in Staten Island, N.Y., scheduled for operation by 2013. Transportes Lurin will be an 80/20 partner in Staten Island Terminal LLC with Liberty Cement LLC.