Officials from Carolinas Cement Co., Wilmington, N.C., announced recently that parent company Titan America LLC was issued an air quality permit from the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) of the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) to construct a proposed 2.4 million-tpy-capacity cement plant in Castle Hayne. The permit issuance comes after four years of technical review of the proposed facility and is a major step toward an integrated North Carolina operation, as Castle Hayne is strategic to the S&W Ready Mix business acquired by Titan in 2007.

Carolinas Cement will meet all new EPA federal regulations for portland cement plants that were finalized in 2010, and these regulations are fully represented in the DAQ air permit. “This was a long, exhaustive process,” said Robert Sells, Titan America's Mid-Atlantic Business Unit President. “But we are absolutely committed to following the EPA's rules to construct one of the safest and most advanced cement plants in the world. We appreciate all the hard work the state of North Carolina has put into this. And we thank our supporters for keeping the faith.”

Now that the air quality permit has been issued, Carolinas Cement plans to proceed with completing the federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) needed to obtain necessary wetlands permits. The EIS is an 18- to 24-month process led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and requires Carolinas Cement to hire an independent third party to conduct studies of potential impact to numerous ecological and social factors, such as water, aquifers, traffic and flora and fauna.

Parallel to the COE permitting process, Titan America will begin a two-year process to design and engineer the new plant. The design process could not begin prior to the issuance of the air permit, as the design must correspond to the exact standards outlined by the air permit. The new plant will pioneer the industry's most advanced emission control technologies to ensure that public health, the aquifers, the Cape Fear River and Island Creek are protected throughout every step of this process.

The Castle Hayne operation would extend Titan's investments in modern cement plants on the heels of the 2006 Pensucco upgrade in Medley, Fla., a project that increased capacity to 2.4 million tons annually, making it the largest cement plant in Florida, fed by the fifth-largest limestone quarry in the nation (7.5 million tpy).

According to Carolinas Cement General Manager Bob Odom, when the plant is fully operatin­g the estimated annual fiscal impact to New Hanover County will exceed $120 million. The company will create 161 full-time jobs and 1,000 construction jobs during its two-year construction phase. The plant will be constructed at the site of the old Ideal Cement Plant off of Holly Shelter Road in Castle Hayne—property that was previously zoned for a cement plant.

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