USA: Ash Grove's Montana City cement plant invests

USA: Ash Grove's Montana City cement plant invests
Published: 27 June 2013


Ash Grove Cement in Montana City is aiming to stay competitive, thanks to some recent upgrades and expansion. It's been nearly 50 years since Ash Grove broke ground for its cement plant in Montana City, and while much of the plant may look the same on the outside, many changes have taken place on the inside.

Most of the changes have to do with complying with strict EPA industrial emissions regulations.
"We've always felt that we've complied with all of our regulatory requirements," said Ash Grove plant manager Dick Johnson.

Ash Grove took a big leap in December 2012, spending US$14m to construct a new baghouse. "The new baghouse is a lot more efficient system for plant emissions versus our old electrostatic precipitator," said engineer Colby Thomas.

The new emissions control plant towers next to the old pollution control equipment, which will eventually come down.

"The challenge there is that it's so close to the new equipment that you can't just come in and take a dozer and knock it over. You kind of have to do it delicately. It will be very expensive to do because of that," said Thomas.

Employing more than 70 skilled workers, ranging from plant operators, engineers, lab technicians, and truck drivers, they've haven't had lost time work for over 12 years.

Now, with the Bakken oil boom driving up infrastructure in eastern Montana, Ash Grove is looking to cash in.

"We obtained a rail siting just north of Sidney, Montana, and this Spring started construction of a cement terminal. The terminal will cost over US$8m to construct and should be done some time in September," said Johnson.

Johnson says despite strict regulations, Ash Grove is making the investments needed to stay up with the times, while maintaining good paying jobs in a great community.