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Holcim Explores Future Cement Manufacturing

Holcim New Zealand Explores Future Cement Manufacturing and Distribution Opportunities

High current demand and future projections for cement consumption, together with a current capacity shortfall and aging plant have prompted Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd to explore its future cement manufacturing and distribution opportunities.

Holcim’s cement manufacturing plant, located at Cape Foulwind, Westport, was established almost 50 years ago and has supplied a substantial percentage of the country's cement needs in this time. However, current and projected future cement demand exceeds the capacity of this plant.

The company is assessing a range of alternatives, including New Zealand production, importing and reconfiguration of shipping.

Cement imported from other Holcim Ltd plants is enabling Holcim New Zealand to meet the current production shortfall, and further importing is one option being explored.

New Zealand production options being considered include upgrading the existing plant or building replacement or additional plant either at Cape Foulwind or at a new location.

Westport, Oamaru and South Waikato/King Country are currently being investigated as potential sites for New Zealand production. Drilling work is underway to assess the potential resources at Westport, and will also shortly begin in South Waikato/King Country.

Given the distributed nature of the New Zealand market, the transportation of cement by ship, rail and road is a key aspect of any option.

Two preferred New Zealand production solutions (subject to capital approval and consents) will be put to the Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd Board in the third quarter of 2005. They will review these against importing and other options available.

The Holcim Ltd Board has underlined its commitment to continue operating in New Zealand.

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