When Atlantic Cement Co finished the Ravena facility in 1962, it was the largest ever built in the US. Many local people know the plant because of the conveyor system that passes below the Thruway south of Albany, carrying cement to barges on the Hudson River. Currently Lafarge is investing US$3.5 million and hiring 100 independent contractors -- in addition to using its 214 workers for some needed repair and upgrade work. The project comes at a time when demand for cement is increasing dramatically.
"Seems to me that they’re investing at a pretty good time," said Ryan Puckett, spokesman for the Portland Cement Association. "Cement is in high demand throughout the country right now. Cement plants, in general, a lot of them are investing in expansion."
The Ravena plant is not expanding its capacity even though it saw a very busy April, said David Vahue, spokesman for the facility. The plant can make 2Mt of cement a year, making its capacity one of the largest in the United States. Last month, it shipped 188,000t of cement, Vahue said. The record at the plant is 220,000t in one month.
But various parts of the plant are now down these days for the renovation. The 600-foot-long kiln is having a section replaced. The company also is rebuilding its primary crusher. The rebuilding will start Monday and take about a week, Vahue said. Several other routine projects are taking place at the same time.
The overhaul has nothing to do with the company’s proposal to burn scrap tires in its kilns as a substitute for 20 per cent of its fuel, Vahue said. Although there have been community meetings about the project, Lafarge’s state environmental permit application is not yet completed. Lafarge has been spending money on maintenance around the country, in anticipation of a "tight cement market this summer." (original report from Times Union-Three Star)