About 70 people gathered at the Harleyville Community Center Tuesday night for a public hearing organized by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to Plant Manager Rafael Menendez.
"We have spoken with our neighbors, employees and citizens through the local area and are receiving strong support for this project," Menendez said. "Lafarge is pleased that many people, including the mayor of Harleyville, the Dorchester County Council, a state representative from Audubon and many others have already written DHEC supporting this project."
A draft air/construction permit for the expansion has been issued and is expected to be finalised by the end of August. Once the permit is issued, the plant will complete a final business case study for Lafarge board approval. If approved, groundbreaking for the project could occur as early as fall 2006 and reach completion by fall 2009.
Lafarge first announced in May its plans to invest approximately $243m and bring up to 20 new jobs to its Harleyville plant as part of its expansion plans. Company officials said the expansion and modernisation is needed to meet growth in domestic demand and to offset cement imports.
The expansion would increase total production capacity to 2.6Mta. Constructing a new kiln system, at 1.2Mta. The existing kiln will be modified to increase production. Installing an indirect firing system and low-emission burner. Constructing a new cooler and a 60,000t clinker storage silo. Constructing a 165-ton-per-hour finish mill. Constructing a new rail loadout facility, modifying the current loadout facility and expanding the existing rail yard. Modifying raw materials, solid fuels and inspector handling systems.