A decision on whether a new $400 million cement plant will be built near Weston is now not expected until the second half of this year. Holcim NZ, which has resource consents to build the plant, had hoped its parent company in Switzerland, Holcim Ltd, would make a decision before the middle of the year. However, Holcim NZ has now been asked for further information on the proposal. New Zealand has been rocked by series of earthquakes in recent weeks.
Capital projects manager, Ken Cowie, said in late February that the proposal was reviewed by the parent company’s executive committee in January. The committee wanted further details on some aspects of the project. The New Zealand project team was gathering the information requested. The final decision on whether to build the plant would be made by the parent company.
All 46 resource consents the company needs to build the plant and open sand, coal and limestone quarries were granted by the Otago Regional Council and Waitaki District Council in February 2008, and were later confirmed by the Environment Court. Consent has also been granted to reopen the branch railway line from Waiareka to Weston, to be used to rail cement to Timaru and bring in some raw materials. Holcim’s last estimate was the plant and quarries would cost $400 million, with another $100 million for storage, transport and shipping facilities and two new ships.