Cost to upgrade W.Va. cement plant up US$140m in two years

Cost to upgrade W.Va. cement plant up US$140m in two years
Published: 29 August 2008

The cost of a cement company’s plan to retool its cement plant south of Martinsburg and increase production there has increased by about US$140m since 2006, when Berkeley County officials approved site plans for the project.

Higher fuel, steel and general construction costs, along with upgrades for compliance with environmental regulation and overall production efficiency have contributed to increasing the project’s price tag to about $460 million, Essroc director of communication Marco Barbesta said Thursday.

"When this is all said and done, we’ll certainly be up to par with the most up-to-date technologies that there is in the business," Barbesta said.

Capitol Cement is a parent company of Essroc, which is a member of Italcementi Group based in Bergamo, Italy.

Because of the size of the project, Barbesta said he was reluctant to give a projected completion date.

Plans to upgrade Capitol Cement Corp.’s 849-acre quarry site and cement production facilities south of the South Queen Street interchange with W.Va. 9 were permitted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2005.

A DEP engineer who reviewed the Capitol Cement permit application for the upgrades said in 2006 that the company would be reducing all pollutants except carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds.

The permit issued by the DEP allows Essroc to annually emit up to 992.1 tons of total suspended particulate matter, 5,702.6 tons of sulfur dioxide, 4,493 tons of carbon monoxide, 3,704 tons of oxides of nitrogen, 159.4 tons of volatile organic compounds, 1.2 tons of fluorides and 2.7 tons of lead.