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Lafarge breaks ground on plant modernization

Ravena facility renovation will replace kilns and cut emissions, retain jobs

State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, second from left, listens to Rep. Paul Tonko talk, second from right, along with Lafarge U.S. President and CEO John Stull, center, before the company’s ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, April 11, for its modernization project at the Ravena cement plant.

State Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, second from left, listens to Rep. Paul Tonko talk, second from right, along with Lafarge U.S. President and CEO John Stull, center, before the company’s ceremonial groundbreaking on Friday, April 11, for its modernization project at the Ravena cement plant. Photo by John Purcell.

— The project will keep more than 110 jobs and create hundreds of temporary construction jobs, along with generating $170 million for the local economy during construction, according to the company.

“I know this plant means a lot to the State of New York and all of you here will benefit every day from the cement we produce and the cement we will continue to produce,” Stull said.

Only four days before Lafarge held the local groundbreaking the company and Holcim, headquartered in Switzerland, announced a proposed merger. Stull said regardless of the merger the local plant renovations would precede.

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An artist's rendering of Lafarge's Ravena cement plant after its modernization project is completed.

“I want to assure you that this news does not change our dedication to this project and our excitement for this momentous groundbreaking experience,” he said. “We are committed to moving forward and very soon you will see a lot of things happening.”

The equipment has already been order to begin construction, he said, with the company hoping to be “pouring some concrete in the next few weeks and months.”

The new facility will cut fuel usage per ton in half, reduce solid waste 40 percent, eliminate water discharges into the Hudson River and reduce carbon dioxide emissions more than 20 percent.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Director Gene Kelly noted the new plant would meet or exceed all current regulatory requirements.

Kelly said total emissions of sulfur dioxide will drop 95 percent, emissions of nitrogen dioxide will be reduced 60 percent and fine particulate matter will decrease 37 percent. He added mercury emissions would be reduced around 65 percent annually.

“The environment is well-served when companies demonstrate the leadership to invest in plant modernizations designed to make their operations more efficient and clean,” Kelly said. “Lafarge’s major investment in Ravena serves as a model for what American industry ought to be doing — investing in our future and protecting jobs all while being a good steward of our shared environment.”

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