Holcim Begins Presentations at Weston Hearing

20 August 2007

Holcim New Zealand has completed its first day of presenting the assessments relating to its Weston Option cement plant resource consent application at a threeweek hearing being held in Oamaru.

"We have 19 expert witnesses who will, over the next few days, address all areas of potential effects arising from the construction and operation of the cement plant and quarries," says Paul Commons, General Manager of Strategy and Development for Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd.

The resource consenting hearing follows 15-months of community consultation and communication since Holcim announced in May 2006 it would seek resource consents for a cement plant at Weston, near Oamaru.

"A number of aspects of the Weston cement plant proposal have been significantly changed and refined as a result of consultation over the past 15 months."

This has included consultation with the Moeraki Runanga which has resulted in amendments to the quarry design to allow for identified Maori rock art sites.

Consultation with the Windsor community has resulted in a revised transport route for trucks accessing the Windsor sand pit. At Weston there has been ongoing consultation with the community over the possibility of a walkway along the designated rail corridor.

"Our application is about the sustainable management of local resources to produce cement, which would provide significant long-term local and national economic benefits."

"The expert advice is unequivocal: all adverse effects would be able to be appropriately avoided and mitigated, as required in section 5 of the Resource Management Act," concludes Paul Commons.

The hearing process

Holcim is presenting its evidence first to the Weston Option cement plant hearing. This is likely to take several days and will include a description of the project followed by detailed technical evidence from the various experts that Holcim has engaged.

Following this, those who asked to speak to their submission will be invited to present their evidence. Again this could take several days.

After the hearing is complete, the panel of commissioners will consider all the evidence presented and announce their decision on whether to grant or decline Holcim's applications.

The commissioners may grant some or all of the applications with conditions. Both the applicant and submitters are able to appeal the panel's decisions to the Environment Court.

Decision-making process

The Weston Option cement plant is one of three options being considered by Holcim New Zealand to meet future demand for cement in New Zealand. A final decision on any of the options being considered will be made by parent company Holcim Ltd and is not expected before 2008.

For more information contact:
Gerald Raymond
Phone 027 443-7253