Hope Construction Materials has invested £14m to boost production at its Hope Works cement plant.

The company, which celebrated its second boom year of cement production yesterday, has kicked off several major capital projects to help improve the plant’s sustainability, improve the efficiency of the operation and secure future supplies for construction.

Investment projects include:

  • Completion of a multi-million pound system to increase the amount of sustainable waste-derived fuels the operation can accommodate; as well as being a ‘cleaner’ energy source this helps to make use of waste which would otherwise go to landfill
  • An internal overhaul of the iconic Hope chimney, which will involve the construction and use of a second temporary chimney for a number of months
  • Construction of a new storage facility to increase stock holding of cement ‘clinker’; this will help secure a consistent supply of cement to the construction industry
  • Improvements to the way the raw materials are fed into the twin kilns – the 70-metre long, 4.9-metre diameter rotating steel cylinders which are the heart of the cement-making process
  • Maintenance and refurbishment of a large section of one of the two kilns. The delivery and installation of this section of kiln and the ‘tyre’ needed to help the kiln rotate have involved months of project planning, complex transport logistics and the use of oversize cranes on site.

Hope Works operations manager Ed Cavanagh said: “We are very excited to be involved in the largest investment programme on site for many years. This works has operated for more than 85 years and directly employs nearly 200 people, making a massive contribution to the UK construction industry, producing 1.5m tonnes of cement at the site in 2014.

“The installation of the new kiln shell section is a spectacular piece of engineering involving several teams and very careful planning. We are delighted with the way that this individual project has evolved and look forward to seeing the others progress to schedule. Once this programme is complete, we will have an upgraded production plant, ready for the challenges of an increasingly busy time for building in the UK.”