March 25, 2013
Omya continues to invest in resources
Jim Stewart, plant manager, Omya Inc. Business at our Omya Vermont facility during 2012 showed growth over the previous year and developments made during the year are bearing fruit in 2013. We expect these gains to continue. Investing in our Florence, Vt. operations with infrastructure upgrades and supporting new product development allows us to remain competitive, and shows our commitment to providing a highly dynamic workplace using state-of-the-art technology to produce high quality products.
New product development is an important activity for us. Last year we introduced Agrocarb-FL which is an agriculture liming product. Another development included the permitting of year-round operation at Omya's Hogback Quarry, allowing more consistent feed for the plant and increasing the availability of aggregate for area road construction or other like uses.
Efficient utilization of resources is key to Omya maintaining its competitive advantage. In order to streamline our quarry operations, we began the permitting process for the installation of a rail extension to transport aggregate stone material from the Hogback quarry. This extension will enable us to ship material that is not suitable for feed stone to Omya's Verpol facility, to benefit local communities and the economy. The extension will reduce the number of trucks hauling aggregate on Vermont highways (five trucks per rail car) resulting in a decrease in air emissions (railcars vs. trucks). This plan extends the life of the quarry and provides a feasible cost effective alternative to extend our market reach beyond a limited geographic area. Omya has received general agreement from the community as well as applicable regulatory authorities based on initial dialog and meetings. The target for completion is summer 2013.
The mineral processing industry is energy intensive and is therefore especially sensitive to rising energy costs. Omya has determined that natural gas is an optimal fuel source for our Vermont facility based on its reliability, economic advantages and its improved environmental performance. Since natural gas is not available in southern Vermont, Omya has been permitted to construct its own natural gas system in Florence. The natural gas will be trucked in its liquid form (liquefied natural gas or LNG) to onsite storage tanks where it will be converted to a vapor for use throughout our operations. We anticipate switching to natural gas in September of 2013. This project has garnered a great deal of positive attention within the state. Omya is appreciative of the community support and the regulatory agencies timely administration of the permitting process. In addition to this project, we have discussed the possibility of converting trucks used to haul our feed stone, to liquefied natural gas as well.
With the strengths of an experienced workforce and ample, high-quality marble reserves at our nearby quarries, we continue our unwavering commitment to quality and total customer satisfaction.