Report from NZ Herald Wed March 05, 2008
By Anne Gibson
Swiss quarry and cement giant Holcim has Government approval to buy large blocks of land in North Otago where it is planning to establish a new cement plant.
In the latest round of decisions released by the Overseas Investment Office, Holcim made five separate applications for land purchases.
All involve Holcim’s plans for a new cement plant, quarries and pits at Weston, 5km northwest of Oamaru.
The price Holcim is paying for the land has been suppressed but other details were released.
Holcim got approval to buy 111ha from Meadowbrook Farm, 20ha from the Harveys, 5.3ha from Windsor Blue, 9.2ha from the Hardwicks and 4.6ha from the Coopers.
All the applications said Holcim’s Westport cement works was operating at capacity, could not meet current demand and had a limited economic life.
So it wants to establish and operate a cement manufacturing complex on land in the Waitaki district, a move which would create jobs, increase efficiencies in cement manufacturing operations and introduce additional investment into New Zealand for development purposes, the commission found.
Holcim produces about 500,000 tonnes of cement annually from its works at Cape Foulwind. It also operates a network of ready-mixed concrete plants in Auckland and Hamilton.