NZ plant appeal hearing next month

NZ plant appeal hearing next month
Published: 27 February 2009

The next stage to get approval to build a US$300m plant near Weston, New Zealand by Holcim starts in Oamaru next month before the Environment Court.

The court’s decision will determine Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd’s next step in deciding how to meet a growing demand for cement in New Zealand.

Despite the world economic recession, Holcim still maintains extra cement production is needed in New Zealand.

The new cement plant was "a long-term decision", research indicating the demand for cement would continue to grow at an average of 1.2% a year, Holcim said in its latest newsletter, being distributed to about 8000 homes in the Oamaru-Weston area.

Even if approval for the cement plant is upheld, Holcim still has to decide whether to build it.

That process includes reviewing the court’s decision, a decision by Holcim’s New Zealand board of directors whether to put the proposal to its parent board in Switzerland, and a decision by that board whether to build the plant.

The final decision by Holcim’s parent board will be determined by factors such as how the option compares with other international investment opportunities, the availability of capital and New Zealand Government policies.

If it proceeds, it would take about a year to complete detailed planning before construction of the plant started. It is expected to take about two years to build, followed by six to 12 months to test and commission the plant.

The association also reported that domestic cement sales fell for the 20th straight month in January, down 5.8 per cent on the year to 3.58Mt. Exports plunged 12.4 per cent to 619,000t for a second monthly decline.