A new import terminal is to be built at the Port of Timaru by Holcim (NZ) Ltd but the company is not ruling out the possibility of a new cement plant at Weston.
“The Weston project is on hold,” Holcim’s projects manager Ken Cowie said from Christchurch yesterday.
“We haven’t changed that decision since we made it a year ago. We’ve done a lot of work planning to use Timaru as a dispatch for the Weston project.
“There are no definite dates or times for Weston; it’s on hold indefinitely.”
A new $5 million silo capacity project is nearing completion for the company at Lyttelton and Mr Cowie said they were moving to the next stage of the $100m investment programme which would allow it to import and distribute bulk cement for supply to the New Zealand market.
Work on Timaru’s 30,000 tonne import terminal will start next year as well as on another terminal of the same capacity being built by the company at Waitemata, Auckland.
Mr Cowie said they hoped to have the terminals operational within two to three years.
“We looked at a number of ports around the country and Timaru was only one of them,” Mr Cowie said. “We made our selection based on a whole raft of criteria.”
He said the market generally in the South Island was static but the Canterbury rebuild was ensuring demand for cement around Christchurch was strong.
“Choosing the Port of Timaru provides effective access to the major market of Christchurch, utilising the new silo capacity there, and to the rest of the South Island.”
In August, the company announced imported cement would replace local production at its Westport cement plant, which would close once the Timaru and Auckland terminals were fully operational.
By CHRIS TOBIN