The second largest cement plant in North America has officially opened. Considered to be "one of the most technologically advanced and sustainable plants ever built", the Heidelberg Materials began construction in 2019 - on the heels of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The plant celebrated the official opening of the Mitchell, Indiana, cement plant on June 13 with a gathering of management from Heidelberg Materials, leaders from federal, state, and local levels for the ribbon cutting.
Heidelberg Materials CEO Dr. Dominik von Achten sees the new site an example of the company's future in cement production while instilling pride in their history as well as play a part of their carbon emission roadmap. "The plant will substantially contribute to Heidelberg Materials’ offering of low-carbon cement and concrete – it is the springboard to becoming the first fully decarbonized cement plant in the U.S. It represents our commitment to further strengthening our North American footprint and increasing the sustainability of our products."
Construction began in 2019. Despite delays from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the project was completed on schedule.
- Can fill 3,600 94-lb. bags per hour
- Distribution terminal can accommodate 32,000 tons of additional cement storage
- Storage dome can hold 154,000 tons of clinker
- 2.4 million tons, expected cement production
The Mitchell plant is comprised of advanced technology and design features to meet ambitious production and capacity goals. A new automated lab, a smart motor control center to collect and communicate data, and a high-speed automated rotary-type packing machine capable of filling 3,600 full-sized (94-lb.) bags per hour will dramatically increase efficiency.
The Mitchell plant will be capable of producing more than 2.4 million tons of cement a year and is expected to help address U.S. cement supply chain constraints. It opens on the heels of the 2021 passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This federal legislation, among other things, provides historically high levels of funding for surface transportation needs, including $110 billion to repair roads, bridges and support major infrastructure projects.
A noticeable feature of the site is the 219-foot-wide, 164-foot-high storage dome, which can hold 154,000 tons of clinker, the intermediate material produced in the manufacture of portland cement. The structure was built with Heidelberg Materials’ EcoCem PLC the company’s lower-carbon portland Limestone Cement, and is the largest dome constructed of this product in North America.
Keen on addressing the industry's need for construction materials, the kiln came online earlier this year producing the first clinker not two months prior to the ribbon cutting, April 23, 2023. The company says the plant should help ease cement supply constraints in the industry, producing four times the amount of cement compared to the existing facility, with total annual cement production expected to be more than 2.4 million tons.
With the increased capacity and commitment to efficient delivery, Heidelberg Materials is improving the facility’s distribution process. The company will be bringing on an additional 1,000 rail cars to serve the newly renovated rail yard near the site. The new distribution terminal accommodates 32,000 tons of additional cement storage.
“The plant will reduce clinker production carbon dioxide emissions per ton of product by almost 30% mainly through operating on natural gas,” says Chris Ward, President and CEO of Heidelberg Materials North America. “Our investment in the Mitchell facility helps us lower our carbon footprint while serving the growing demand for more sustainable products in this key market.”
The facility will primarily produce EcoCem PLC, the company’s durable cement produced with a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, Heidelberg Materials is leveraging funding from the U.S. Department of Energy at the site to study the feasibility of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) at the site.
The Mitchell plant adds more than 50 full-time jobs to the 120 already employed at the site.
Find more information on the Mitchell Cement Plant project at the Heidelberg Materials Mitchell site page.