Lehigh Cement Company receives air permit for new plant in Mitchell, Indiana
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Lehigh Cement Company receives air permit for new plant in Mitchell, Indiana

Lehigh Hanson, Inc. recently announced that its Lehigh Cement Company plant in Mitchell, Ind., has received from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) the permit necessary to begin the construction of the plant. Specifically, IDEM issued a Notice of Decision stating that Lehigh Cement Company’s application for significant modification of its Part 70 Operating Permit was approved. IDEM’s Office of Air Quality issued the new permit allowing Lehigh to construct a new cement kiln system and material handling equipment at its site in Mitchell. The company will invest more than $600 million in the new plant, making it the largest expansion project undertaken by Lehigh Hanson in North America.

The permit approval comes following a 30-day public comment period during which the majority of comments received by IDEM consisted of letters of support from the community. This project will create new full-time jobs at the plant, and the number of indirect jobs being created is expected to make a significant economic impact on the city and county.

“The issuance of the air construction permit is an integral step in the process to build the new plant in Mitchell,” said Tom Chizmadia, senior vice president of government affairs and communications. “As a result, over the next several months there will be various activities taking place to prepare the site for full scale construction scheduled to begin next year.”

The heart of cement manufacturing is the cement kiln. For the new plant, Lehigh will install one kiln that will replace its current three kilns. The new kiln system will increase production capacity while also significantly reducing energy usage and emissions per ton of cement produced. Groundbreaking for the new plant is expected later this year with completion and startup slated for the third quarter of 2022.

“For generations, Lehigh has played an important role in the Mitchell community and Lawrence County, and our dedicated and hard-working employees will continue this rich tradition as we expand and modernize our operations,” said Jerry Miller, Mitchell plant manager. “We’ll continue to contribute to the positive legacy of Lehigh in Mitchell for years to come.”

Notable economic and environmental benefits of the new Mitchell plant include:

• Over 1,000 construction positions during construction

• Technical training and growth opportunities for plant employees

• State-of-the-art technology to improve operating efficiencies

• Thermal efficiencies

• Waste heat recirculation and utilization

• Recycling and energy efficiencies

When the project was announced in July 2018, Lehigh established a community advisory panel consisting of local business people, educators, elected officials and other residents representing a cross-section of the community. The panel meets to discuss project progress, community input and questions and will continue to meet regularly throughout the construction process.

Last month, Trade & Industry Development magazine awarded Lehigh Cement Company a Corporate Investment and Community Impact (CiCi) Award in the Corporate Investment category for its commitment to economic development in Mitchell, Ind. Lehigh also recently celebrated Limestone Heritage Month in Lawrence County, Ind. and invited the public to tour the cement plant while explaining how the cement manufacturing process will be updated when the new plant begins operation.