Production begins at new Lawrence County cement plant
Texas-based Heidelberg Materials North America has begun production at its new, more than $600 million cement plant in the Lawrence County city of Mitchell. The company, formerly known as Lehigh Hanson, said the facility will ultimately produce 2.4 million tons of cement annually.
The first clinker was produced earlier this week at the facility, which replaces the company’s previous plant. Clinker is the material that comes out of the plant’s kiln and is then ground and processed into cement.
Construction on the plant began in 2019, but was delayed in March 2020 due to the pandemic. A spokesperson for Heidelberg told IIB construction resumed at an accelerated pace the following September.
Heidelberg said the facility uses the latest technology and environmental controls to provide a “substantial increase” in production capacity, while reducing energy usage, fuel consumption and emissions per ton of cement produced.
“We are extremely pleased to have the new Mitchell kiln online and producing clinker,” Chris Ward, president and CEO of Heidelberg Materials North America, said in a news release. “With the capabilities of the new facility, we will be able to supply our customers more efficiently, consistently and sustainably than ever before.”
Heidelberg has set a goal of reducing 30% of its carbon emissions by 2025 and reaching net zero concrete by 2050.
The company said the new plant is the second-largest cement plant in North America and represents one of the largest investments in Lawrence County. Up to 50 new full-time jobs are expected to be added with the new plant, bringing the facility’s total headcount to more than 170.
The estimated 2.4 million tons of cement that will be produced at the new plant is four times more than the capacity of Heidelberg’s previous plant. The spokesperson said some parts of the old plant may continue to be used, but any old or unused structures and equipment will be repurposed, sold, demolished or disposed of properly.
Heidelberg Materials North America is a subsidiary of Germany-based Heidelberg Materials. The company rebranded from the former Lehigh Hanson name earlier this year.