Mountain Cement’s Kiln No. 1 makes cement at a prodigious 576t per day. The larger by Kiln No. 2 fires its way to 1345t of cement every day. However, both kilns are being eliminated in favor of a single smaller, but far more productive, US$120m replacement increasing cement production by 60 per cent. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2007 and will be completed in fall 2008, a spokesman said.
Mountain Cement’s parent company, Texas-based Eagle Materials, is also upgrading its Nevada Cement plant in Fernley, Nev. for a total capital investment of approximately $320m, according to the company.
The tipping point in Eagle Material’s commitment to Mountain Cement came with the settlement of a lawsuit brought by local environmental groups Biodiversity Conservation Alliance and the Sierra Club, Mountain Cement President Stuart Tomlinson said. The agreement requires Mountain Cement to replace a less efficient pollution control system on Kiln No. 2 with a more efficient one. The cost of the improvement would have been US$5m, and it prompted the company to consider replacing the kilns entirely, Tomlinson said.
Mountain Cement still hasn’t signed the agreement from October and is hoping Biodiversity and the Sierra Club renegotiate the agreement in light of the new investment. Biodiversity’s lawyer, Reed Zars said he prefers to have both parties sign the agreement and then potentially move on to modifying it. Either way, Mountain Cement attorney Phil Nicholas is confident the new kiln will be built on time, he said. The new kiln will have all new pollution control technology and will be far cleaner than the existing one, Nicholas said. It will also require less maintenance and run more efficiently, saving on fuel and energy costs.
In the interim, current employees will receive technical training to keep them current with the new technology. New technical jobs will also be added, Tomlinson said. As the president of Mountain Cement, Tomlinson said he was confident in pushing for the US$120m upgrade because of the quality of his employees and overall ability of the workforce in Wyoming.