Tyrone factory plans to burn tyres instead of coal

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan tours the Lafarge Tarmac factory along with Devendra Mody, industrial director at Lafarge Tarmac.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan tours the Lafarge Tarmac factory along with Devendra Mody, industrial director at Lafarge Tarmac.

A COOKSTOWN cement factory has signed up to an agreement with the Department of the Environment (DoE) to cut its coal use by one third.

A product of a merger in 2013, Lafarge and Tarmac employ 86 people at its cement plant outside Cookstown. The plant currently uses coal for around 95 per-cent of its fuel source. But under a new ‘prosperity agreement’ with the DOE, the company has pledged to substitute up to 35 per-cent of its coal use with waste derived fuel and replace non-renewable materials in accordance with a code of practice developed by the Mineral Products Association (MPA).

Among the materials suggested as a coal alternative are tyres. The DoE have said that the cement kilns at the Cookstown plant are well suited to use waste tyres ‘as the high temperature and long processing time provides an ideal environment to ensure there are no harmful by-products created during the combustion process’.

The agreement with Lafarge’s industrial director Devendra Mody was formally announced by DOE Minister Mark H Durkan at the Sandholes Road site on Thursday.

Also present, were Lord Deben and Matthew Bell, chair and chief executive of the UK Climate Change Committee. “The agreement will turn environmental issues from barriers to business into economic growth opportunities,” said the Minister. “The deal is that the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) firmly regulates and reduces red tape. In turn partner companies invest heavily in the environment.”