By Tom Weber, KWMU
St. Louis, MO – The boards that run the cement company Holcim have signed off on plans for a plant near the St. Genevieve - Jefferson County border.
Those moves officially commit the company to building what will be the largest cement plant in the country, right along the Mississippi River.
The company got all the government permits it needed last year.
But Holcim spokeswoman Nancy Tully says the company then had to go back and see if the project was still worth it, because the cost had risen from $600 million to $900 million.
"There is still a great need for cement and our company alone is importing many tons of cement up the Mississippi River," Tully said Thursday. "Twenty percent of our product that we sell in this country is still coming up here, so we're going to be replacing that with our own once this plant is up and running."
Tully noted, though, the new plant won't completely eliminate the need to import cement.
Environmental groups had opposed the plans for years, saying emissions from the plant would harm St. Louis's air. But they withdrew their opposition last year after reaching an agreement with the company.
Holcim says it will break ground on the plant in the Spring.