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Cemex ups investment

MATERIALS - Cement giant to spend extra £6.5 million on new particle filter to cut emissions at Rugby plant

MEXICAN cement and concrete specialist Cemex is to plough more cash into its Rugby cement production plant in an effort to improve its environmental performance.

The move will bring the total invested at the cement plant to more than £200 million.

Speaking to Construction News in an exclusive interview, the first since the £2.3 billion buy out of RMC earlier this year, Cemex UK president Ignacio Ortiz revealed that the company would shell out another £6.5 million at the plant.

The cash injection will be used to buy a state-of-the-art filter aimed at helping cut the levels of dust emissions from the cement kiln's chimney.

Mr Ortiz said: 'Cemex is planning to invest £6.5 million in a bag filter to improve environmental performance further. The filter will enable a limit of 30 mg per cu m of particulates (fine dust) from the chimney to be reached, compared with the current limit of 55 mg per cum.' And Mr Ortiz defended the Rugby plant's production record since Cemex took over the kiln in March after accusations of inefficiency.

He said: 'Rugby is one of the most modern plants in the world and represents a total investment of £200 million.

It has the largest kiln in the UK and has achieved a level of reliability of 90 per cent since March compared with 70 per cent in 2004. Production levels are now consistently averaging more than 100,000 tonnes of cement clinker per month.' He highlighted the use of alternative fuels at Rugby, including chipped tyres, to cut back on burning fossil fuel but argued that the Government should clarify its emissions strategy if it was serious about reducing emissions.

He said: 'The political emphasis on the reduction of climate change emissions in the UK and EU should be helpful but there are conf licting strategies at national and local level in the UK ? the Government is suppor tive in principle on burning waste fuels yet at local level it is difficult to get permits to do so.

'While Government has to react to people's concerns there is potential for promoting this work as it knows what a beneficial process it is.' Mr Ortiz claimed that it was a difficult decision to chop 750 jobs from the workforce at the former RMC but said the move was necessary to push the company forward.

n Read the full interview with Mr Ortiz on page 46.