The US State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced Lafarge has completed its Draft Environmental Impact Statement for plans to modernise and expand its cement plant at the existing site on Route 9W in Ravena, New York, state.
“Overall, the new plant will reduce Lafarge’s environmental footprint,” Environmental Manager John Reagan said in response to DEC’s announcement. “It will be cleaner, more efficient and the emissions from most chemicals will decrease. Greenhouse gases per ton of product will decrease as well.”
Reagan pointed out the project has been two years in the making and represents an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours.
“Once Lafarge gets all the permits we would anticipate starting construction somewhere between late 2011 and early 2012,” he said. “The DEC has held us to a high standard,” he said. “We have worked closely with them over the past few years and the agency has been an active participant in competing this document.”
Plans call for replacing the existing two wet cement kilns with one more energy-efficient “dry” kiln including a preheater/precalciner system. The upgrades will increase capacity from 1.72Mt to 2.81Mt of clinker a year.
According to Lafarge estimates, the new plant will reduce mercury to 21 pounds per million tons of clinker, consistent with new standards mandated by the EPA and far below the 176-pound annual cap recently set by DEC. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide would decrease as well with the former expected to go from 13.7 pounds per ton of clinker to 0.4 and the latter from 6.04 to 1.5 pounds.
The new US$300m project could bring a financial boon to the area providing 800 hundred temporary construction jobs as well as another 1300 related to the modernisation process. Once the project is completed, staffing will return to current levels of roughly 180 employees.