Holcim plans rehabilitation of Westport cement plant

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New Zealand: Plans for the future use of Holcim's Westport cement plant after it closes are still unknown. Holcim plans to close its Westport plant in 2016 in favour of importing cement from Japan, resulting in 105 staff and contractors losing their jobs.

The company announced in September 2015 that the Westport plant might close at the end of May 2016 and plans were under way for the plant to be demolished and the quarry site rehabilitated. Holcim owned more than 500 hectares of land around Westport, including the Cape Foulwind cement plant and quarry, 11 houses at Cape Foulwind and a rail siding near Westport.

General Manager Ross Pickworth said that no decisions had been made on the future of the company's land and assets in Westport. "The focus is on looking after our people and the work that needs to be done before plant closure. Preparatory and planning work is being carried out with a focus mainly on the plant site, quarry and houses," said Pickworth.

The company was investigating what work was needed on the 11 houses occupied by staff near Westport so that they could be sold after the plant closed. The Buller District Council was looking for new businesses to occupy the plant site and make use of the town's port. The council owned the port and transporting Holcim's cement was its main source of income. Council Business Development Facilitator, John Hill, had been investigating turning the plant into an eco-park, which could include making energy from rubbish incineration or turning waste timber into diesel.

Pickworth said that demolition work was unlikely to commence until late 2016, so any potential users had, "Quite some time to register interest in the site and any equipment that may be of use."

The council had been trying to attract new industries to Buller to increase employment opportunities in the region. "Holcim is supporting this process by promoting its Cape Foulwind site to see if there is interest from other potential users of the site," said Pickworth. "An advisor has been appointed to assist Holcim with demolition planning and project management. The cost of demolition will depend on what buildings and assets may be left on site and tenders will be called for such work closer to the time."

Last modified on 20 January 2016

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