UK: A Lafarge cement plant in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland has invested Euro6m in new equipment and an apprenticeship scheme.
Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster visited the plant, where she met employees and saw a refurbished electrostatic precipitator that will reduce overall dust emissions. She was also told about the Cement Kiln Dust (CKD) project, which has reduced some 8000t/yr of landfilled waste to almost zero.
Further plans for the Cookstown Works were also showcased, including a future upgrade of a central control room and the apprenticeship scheme, which saw two new apprentices join the works team in 2012. A further two apprentices will join the team in 2013.
The minister said that Lafarge's investment demonstrates its confidence in its workforce. "This is a difficult time for the construction industry and it is therefore particularly pleasing to see that the company is investing in its future by upgrading its current facilities and creating opportunities for apprenticeships," said Foster.
The investment in the Cookstown Works comes at a time when Lafarge is merging its UK building materials business interests with those of Tarmac Buxton. This has necessitated the sale of the French giant's Hope Works in Derbyshire, England.