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Firm scraps controversial plan for cement plant near Wilmington

Posted March 11

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— After years of wrangling with neighbors and environmental groups over plans to build a cement plant near Wilmington, Titan America LLC has finally thrown in the towel.

Titan announced Thursday that it was abandoning the idea of a new cement plant in Castle Hayne, citing the cost of getting the plant up and running, a slowdown in the domestic market and global competition.

"Our decision to suspend construction on the cement plant in Castle Hayne is driven by basic project economics," Bill Zarkalis, Titan’s chief executive, said in a statement. "The pace of demand growth in the specific markets does not seem adequate to justify the addition of substantial new production capacity – more so because the costs to construct a new cement plant in the United States have risen substantially in the past few years."

Titan initially applied for the air permit to construct and operate a manufacturing plant at 6411 Ideal Cement Road in Castle Hayne in April 2008, but the permitting process dragged on because of changes in federal air quality regulations and legal challenges.

Opponents expressed concern over the potential impact the facility could have on the Cape Fear River, but backers said the plant would bring needed jobs to the area.

"North Carolina is an attractive place to do business, and we remain committed to continue to grow here," Robert Sells, president of Titan’s Mid-Atlantic Business Unit, said in a statement.

A Titan plant in Roanoke, Va., will continue supplying North Carolina customers, officials said.

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