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Newsletter Provides Project Update


Newsletter Provides Project Update
20 May 2008 – Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd is this week circulating a further newsletter to approximately 8,000 Oamaru residents to keep them updated on the progress of the proposed cement plant near Weston.
The newsletter outlines the outcome of the Environment Court pre-hearing conference held on 28 April at which Judge Jackson indicated that a hearing date would be dependent on the designation of the railway line between Waiareka and the proposed plant site being resolved. The hearing for that rail designation starts on Wednesday.
“Depending on the timeframe around the rail designation process, a last quarter 2008 hearing for the plant appeal is still possible,” said Ken Cowie, Holcim Capital Projects Manager.  “We’re committed to the hearing process; at the same time we want to minimise the period of uncertainty for the relevant communities and staff.”
A recent review has been carried out to update costings associated with the project, which were originally done in 2005.  Including the plant, associated quarries and pits, a new ship for cement distribution and related national distribution systems, the cost is now estimated to be $400 - $500 million. Of this the plant is expected to cost more than $300 million.
“Updated costs for the Westport option are still being finalised,” said Ken Cowie. “We expect they will increase by the same order of magnitude.  These revised costings don’t affect our ranking of a new Oamaru plant as our preferred option.”
In April, the company presented its submission to Government’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the Climate Change (Emissions Trading and Renewable Preference) Bill. Managing Director Jeremy Smith told the Select Committee that, while the company strongly endorses Government's decision to establish a carbon emissions trading regime as a way to help New Zealand reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,  Holcim New Zealand would not recommend that its parent company invest in the new cement plant with the Bill in its original form because it did not encourage the company to invest in low emissions technology.  In recent weeks several amendments to the Bill have been proposed.  The company continues to have positive engagement with the Government on this issue.


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