Holcim considers interest in Westport assets

By Lee Scanlon

The company closed its Westport cement works last month after 58 years of cement production in Westport. More than 100 jobs disappeared. Photo / Darryl May
The company closed its Westport cement works last month after 58 years of cement production in Westport. More than 100 jobs disappeared. Photo / Darryl May

Expressions of interest closed yesterday in Holcim's Westport assets.

Capital projects manager Ken Cowie said Holcim couldn't say how many expressions of interest it had received for each asset until it had reviewed them

"All of the expressions of interest will be reviewed over the next few weeks as we seek any clarifications and, if required, respond to any points raised by interested parties. Proposals will then be finally evaluated."

Mr Cowie said Holcim had no fixed timetable to conclude any sales. Holcim anticipated it would take some time to complete discussions with potential purchasers, he said.

The company closed its Westport cement works last month after 58 years of cement production in Westport. More than 100 jobs disappeared.

Holcim is selling the plant site, a quarry, a packing plant site, a water treatment plant, farm land, 11 staff houses, and the ground lease and wharf silos at Westport harbour.

The amount of land for sale totals over 500 hectares. Most of it is 14km south of Westport at Cape Foulwind.

Potential purchasers were able to express their interest in components or the entire portfolio.

Holcim said last month that it intended to demolish most of the cement plant site to ground level, leaving five buildings for industrial and office use.

The demolition process is expected to take 12 to 18 months. First the site has to be decontaminated - mainly of asbestos in the building claddings.

The demolition is being overseen by cement works manager, Clark Nelson, the only man still employed on the site apart from security staff.

He said last month that most of the rubble would probably be crushed for fill and steel would be cut up for scrap.

How the cement works buildings came down was still being discussed. Blowing up the chimneys was one option, Mr Nelson said.

Meanwhile, the cement carrier Westport - which returned during the week for her third "final" visit to Westport - is scheduled to leave at 9.15am Tuesday, weather permitting.

The ship had to come back twice after what was supposed to be her final visit after Holcim's other plans to transport the last cement from Westport fell over.

- Westport News

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