(MITCHELL) – Jerry Miller, Plant Manager of Lehigh Portland Plant in Mitchell, spoke to attendees at the Mitchell Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner last Thursday evening providing an update on the planned $600 million dollar expansion.
Miller stated over the years, Lawrence County had several Lime plants, two within the Mitchell area; one being Rabbitsville Company, and a Mitchell Plant. Since 1902, when Lehigh first started in Mitchell, is the only one remaining.
The company will invest more than $600 Million dollars in the plant modernization project which will increase production capacity while also significantly reducing energy usage and emissions per ton of cement produced. According, to Miller the production will increase three times the current production rate.
“The modernization of the Mitchell Plant will enable us to produce cement more efficiently and sustainability through the state of the art technology and the latest environmental controls and systems,” said Lehigh Hanson President and CEO Jon Morrish. “The capabilities will enable us to better serve our existing customer base in the Midwest while also expanding our reach in this growing market.”
The expansion is the largest expansion and modernization Lehigh Hanson have undertaken in North America.
Miller stated his goal is to stay connected and educate the Mitchell community keep them informed on the project and any issues or concerns residents may have over the project to be able to meet and address those concerns. Inviting anyone to come over to the office or place a phone call and he will talk to anyone about those things that concern them.
In the near future, he is wanting to get a website up and running to keep the public up to date on the construction project.
Currently, the project is still in the permitting stage, with the Indiana Department of Environment, the timing of the permit is in their hands hopefully, having a draft in the coming weeks. In addition, the company is working on tight schedules, trying to select some major equipment suppliers, with those narrowed down to three supply companies at this time.
Minor construction preparations are also underway doing some tree clearing, brush removal, and other ground preparations.
They also have been working on bidding on mechanical and electrical contractors to provide the final design of the project. This project will help local and area businesses while the construction project gets underway.
Last year the plant missed a few sales projections. However, 2019 is already off to a good start with working with Milestone on the local State Road Project, who selected Lehigh to be the supplier of material for that project. Other projects throughout Indiana include Interstate 65 and Interstate 74. This year is going to be a good year for the local plant.
Notable economic and environmental benefits of this project include:
- Approximately 50 new created full-time jobs at the plant
- More than 1,000 construction jobs during the approximate four-year project
- Enhanced technical training and growth opportunities for plant employees
- Improved environmental performance and a reduction in energy usage while
- increasing cement production capacity
- State of the art technology to improve operating efficiencies.
The construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and be completed by 2022, with a goal of the construction being tentatively planned to start in the first quarter of next year.