Ash Grove to build US$250m plant

Ash Grove to build US$250m plant
Published: 15 July 2004

Ash Grove said this week it has struck a deal to build a US$250m plant less than 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas on land owned by the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians.  Ash Grove Cement expects the plant would bring a steady influx of cash and 100 to 130 new jobs to the reservation while helping the company meet rising demands for cement in this area.  "This should be a long-term revenue source for the tribe and will help us put additional product into a market that’s right now struggling to get enough cement," Kent Sunderland, Ash Grove vice chairman, said Monday.

Ash Grove previously supplied cement to customers in Southern Nevada by manufacturing it at plants in Utah and Oregon and shipping it by rail to a company-owned terminal in North Las Vegas.  Sunderland said the region’s ongoing cement shortage highlighted the need to increase production here, prompting Ash Grove to look into building a plant somewhere nearby. Once the Moapa plant comes online, it would become the company’s primary supplier within the state.  "I would expect about 80 percent to 90 percent of what is made there will be used in Southern Nevada," Sunderland said. "If there are other areas that are underserved and we have product available, we may be able to ship some to other terminals."

The Moapa plant would be the first entirely new facility to be built by Ash Grove in 75 years. The company has for decades grown by expanding its existing plants, Sunderland said.  The site was attractive because of its proximity to Las Vegas and existing rail and highway connections, as well as limestone reserves that could support cement production for at least 100 years.

Ash Grove will pay a still-undetermined royalty to the tribe for limestone it removes from the reservation, in addition to water rights fees and tribal taxes. The plant will be capable of producing up to 1.5Mt of cement per year, which Sunderland said would qualify it as one of the country’s largest plants.