North / South America
Ash Grove announces major upgrade at Midlothian
May, 29 2012
(Kansas) -- Kansas-based Ash Grove Cement has announced an investment of over US$125m at its Midlothian plant in Texas in an effort to make it one of the lowest-emitting cement producers in the state.
The decision to install a new preheater/precalciner production system was taken at the company's May 2012 meeting on 24 May 2012 and has been prompted by the need for the plant to lower its emissions ahead of the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) portland cement National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) rule that is scheduled to take effect in September 2013.
The decision, which comes hot-on-the-heels of a request to close the plant's existing wet production lines, was one option being considered by Ash Grove."We concluded that we wanted to continue to provide Texans with locally-made cement from our Midlothian facility for the foreseeable future and therefore approved the modernisation project," said Ash Grove Chairman Charles Sunderland. The decision secures jobs for the 110 people that work at the plant.
Ash Grove has invested millions of dollars in the Midlothian facility over the past four decades to reduce production emissions. Since 1996, Ash Grove has reduced the plant's NOx emissions by more than 60%. "Our employees appreciate the confidence the board has shown in them by making this decision," said Midlothian plant manager Kevin Blankenship. "We have generations of employees working here, many with decades of service. This decision demonstrates that Ash Grove will maintain its strong north Texas presence for our families, our community and our customers."
Reaction among community leaders also has been favourable."We are very pleased that Ash Grove has committed to investing to upgrade its plant here," said Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston. "Ash Grove is an outstanding corporate citizen and has always worked hard to be a good and responsible neighbour. "By investing in this key technology upgrade (the) plant will remain viable, competitive and environmentally-friendly for many years to come."
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