On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, Lehigh Hanson broke ground to mark the start of construction of its new Lehigh Cement Company plant in Mitchell, Ind. The company will invest more than $600 million in the new state-of-the-art plant which will expand the existing plant’s operations.
The new plant will allow for an increase in production capabilities while significantly reducing energy usage, fuel consumption and emissions per ton of cement produced through modern equipment and the latest in cement production technology.
The groundbreaking ceremony follows approval of the air construction permit by Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) this summer. IDEM’s Office of Air Quality issued the permit in July, allowing Lehigh to construct a new cement kiln system and material handling equipment at the Mitchell plant. The groundbreaking marks the start of site preparations to begin full scale construction next year, and the new plant is slated for startup in the third quarter of 2022.
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.
Notable economic and environmental benefits of this project include:
• Approximately 50 newly created full-time jobs
• Over 1,000 construction positions during the approximate four-year project span
• Technical training and growth opportunities for plant employees
• State-of-the-art technology to improve operating efficiencies
• Recycling and energy efficiencies
“This has been a partnership every step of the way to ensure that Indiana continues to be a pro-business state so that great employers can give strong Hoosiers the opportunity to succeed,” said Congressman Trey Hollingsworth. “And, I couldn’t be prouder of the work that’s going to start here today and is going to go on for decades, right here at this location.”
“As a Main Street entrepreneur, I know firsthand that Lehigh Cement Company will continue to be a valued member of the Mitchell community and I’m proud they picked Indiana for this investment,” said U.S. Senator Mike Braun in a statement.
“On behalf of Governor Holcomb and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, it’s an honor to take part in today’s milestone announcement for Lehigh Hanson and for southern Indiana,” said Chris W. Cotterill, chief operating officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Choosing Indiana for their largest modernization efforts in North America is a testament to Indiana’s pro-growth business climate and a dedicated, skilled workforce, and we are grateful for all they’ve done to take southern Indiana to the next level.”
“This investment may be the single largest investment in Lawrence County’s history,” said J.D. England, mayor of Mitchell. “The impact of this investment is sure to echo and impact many people, but none more profoundly than those right here in the place that I love. Lehigh, thank you for that.”
“Since this plant was established in 1902, Lehigh has taken a vested interest in how we can improve our plant and our community,” said Jerry Miller, Mitchell plant manager. “This expansion is an opportunity for Lehigh to invest in the Mitchell plant and in the Mitchell community.”
Mitchell sits atop a vast field of limestone—the key raw material to make cement—making it an ideal location to expand the company’s manufacturing in the Midwest.
Cement is the essential ingredient in concrete, the most widely used construction material in the world. Lehigh Hanson remains committed to supplying cement for the continued growth of the Midwest U.S. market.
When the project was announced in July 2018, Lehigh established a community advisory panel consisting of local business professionals, 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.
Earlier this year, 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 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.