Construction of a US$600m cement plant that has been delayed for years by environmental lawsuits will get under way within the next six months, company officials said. Holcim said feasibility and market studies indicate there is a demand for 4Mt of cement the plant plans to produce annually at a site 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of St. Louis. The company said its new plant will be the largest in the nation. Production is expected to begin by 2009.
The plant, initially proposed in 2000, will employ about 1200 workers during the peak of construction and provide 200 jobs after completion, company officials said. It will be built on 4000 acres of land next to the Mississippi River in St. Genevieve County. "The St. Genevieve plant will allow us to provide a reliable source of quality cement produced in the middle of the US," said Holcim president Patrick Dolberg.
Environmental groups had opposed the cement plant because of concerns about air pollution, mining and damage to wetlands. Holcim agreed in October to a US$3m settlement of lawsuits filed by those groups, with the money to go toward regional environmental projects. Holcim also agreed to grant a conservation easement on nearly 2000 acres over much of the plant’s buffer area, which will prevent any new development on the land for a century.