Holcim New Zealand has begun consulting Oamaru residents over its plans to consider building a US$200m cement plant near the suburb of Weston. "We are seeking resource consents for the Weston site, but first need to do further research and technical investigation, as well as consulting with members of the local communities," Holcim New Zealand’s Christchurch-based spokesman Paul Commons said. Holcim was also talking to people at nearby Windsor, the site of a possible sand quarry.
The earliest a decision would be made on Weston would be early 2008, given it was a "50-year investment" decision, Commons said. However, Holcim could decide to remain at its Cape Foulwind, Westport site, or move to another site in the South Waikato"It’s such a large decision that we’re looking at all three quite closely in terms of learning what the relative advantages are of each," he said.
At Weston, experts were undertaking initial investigations for the resource consent process. Information summaries from these investigations would be made widely available from late July or early August.
In making a choice on the cement plant site, Holcim was looking at four things, Commons said. "You’re looking for mineral reserves first and foremost, you’re looking for electrical and thermal energy, you’re looking for logistics capability -- so that’s rail, port, road networks, and you’re also looking for services and employment."