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Monday, June 07, 2010

Essroc dedicates new plant

Essroc dedicates new plant


Eco-friendly facility making impact in area



By Naomi Smoot, Journal staff writer

POSTED: June 6, 2010 Save
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Article Photos

Will and Sharon Paxson examine samples of limestone, shale, clinker, gypsum and cement at a public tour of the Essroc Italcementi Group Martinsburg Plant Saturday afternoon. (Journal photo by Naomi Smoot)

MARTINSBURG - Scores of people gathered Saturday morning to celebrate the dedication of a new cement plant in Martinsburg.



"Today is a monumental day for Essroc Italcementi," said Plant Manager Paul Biel.



The company's new facility shares the same footprint as a previous cement plant that had long existed on the same property. Biel said the new structure includes a series of features that make it far different from the plant that preceded it, though.



"While this quarry has been in continuous operation since the 1800s, the plant we dedicate today was built with state-of-the-art technology and is, and will remain, one of the cleanest, most flexible, serviceable and efficient cement plants in North America," he stated.



Nearly four years ago, work began to create a new plant in the area that would be more modern and environmentally-friendly. That undertaking required a commitment of nearly $500 million, the largest investment that Essroc or its parent company, Italcementi Group, had ever made in an industrial project.



West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Kelley Goes said during Saturday's ceremony that she was grateful the company had decided to make such a sizable commitment to the area.



"Thank you to Essroc for making this investment in our state," Goes said.



Goes said she was pleased with the company's commitment to making the best products that it can, and using the most up-to-date technologies available in order to do so. It's companies that take this sort of approach that will succeed in the future, she said.



During her remarks, Goes read a letter that Gov. Joe Manchin had sent along that day. In it, he expressed his own gratitude for Essroc's investment in the state.



"The renovation is good news," the letter stated, adding that it would be beneficial for the region and the state as a whole.



Company officials are hoping that they will see a benefit from the new and improved plant as well. Carlo Pesenti, CEO of Italcementi Group, noted that the company had undertaken the project during what he described as "very difficult" economic cycle.



Pesenti said he sees the plant as a facility that will benefit from the economic recovery that "soon will come." The Martinsburg facility, he said, is expected to prove key to the company in the coming years.



"The plant is an asset," he said.



Essroc is headquartered in Pennsylvania, while the Italcementi Group is an Italian company that is the fifth-largest cement producer in the world. Locally, the company employs nearly 150 people.



Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata, Italian ambassador to the United States, also was among those on hand for Saturday's event.



He said it was only natural that Americans and Italians would come together to forge a partnership like the one unfolding in Martinsburg. For years, he said, such partnerships have existed, and the United States and the Italian community have worked closely together.



Now, Sant'Agata said, the plant is enabling both cultures to move forward and do their part to aid in a global economic recovery.



- Staff writer Naomi Smoot can be reached at 304-725-6581 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 304-725-6581 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or nsmoot@journal-news.net

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