Demolition of chimney taller than St Paul's Cathedral marks end of an era at CEMEX plant

Demolition of chimney taller than St Paul's Cathedral marks end of an era at CEMEX plant

September 19, 2010
Building materials provider CEMEX UK is demolishing its cement plant at Rochester in Kent, marking the end of 150 years of cement making at the site. It also marks the end of an important chapter in the social and economic life of the county.

Building materials provider CEMEX UK is demolishing its cement plant at Rochester in Kent, marking the end of 150 years of cement making at the site. It also marks the end of an important chapter in the social and economic life of the county.

The demolition will culminate with a controlled explosion to flatten the 375 foot (114 metres) reinforced concrete chimney stack on Sunday 19 September. The chimney, which is taller than the St Paul's Cathedral in London (365 foot) dates back to the late 1970s. It originally took nine months to build, but will only take nine seconds to come down. Approximately 10 kg of a nitroglycerine-based explosive will be used to demolish the chimney around which will be a 250 metre exclusion zone.

On the day, the button will be pressed by former plant employee Dave Dark who won a competition to raise funds for the Wisdom Hospice in Rochester, a local charity, which provides palliative and end of life care for patients with life-limiting illness.

Demolition of the plant, which covers 11 hectares - the equivalent of more than 15 football pitches -, began last March. It is being managed by Hydrock and undertaken by the Armoury Group, and will make way for a mixed-use lakeside community of more than 500 homes, which has been granted planning permission by Medway Council.

CEMEX began consulting with the local community early in 2006 over plans to demolish the works and to replace it with a vibrant new waterside community, after deciding to open a new, modern and low carbon cement grinding and blending plant at the Port of Tilbury in Essex, just 25 miles from the heart of London.

President of CEMEX UK, Gonzalo Galindo, said: "This marks the end of end of an era for our cement manufacturing in Kent, at a plant which has provided employment and a livelihood for many local people for more than a century, but our Tilbury plant now provides a more environmentally friendly option for cement making. We also hope the new mixed-use lakeside development will be of great benefit to the local community."

According to Mike Higgins, Director from Hydrock, project challenges have included demolishing major industrial structures around constraints such as an oil pipeline and high voltage overhead power lines which lie within the site. Mike said: "We have been working as lead remediation advisor and principal contractor for the demolition and remediation works for CEMEX since 2008 to ensure a seamless transition from a working plant, through to closure and redevelopment."

Ends

Notes to Editors:

More information
For photographs, video footage and more information, please contact Marit Meyer-Bell, tel 0786 7653392 / marit.meyerbell@cemex.com

CEMEX UK
CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high-quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

In the UK, as well as ready mixed concrete, cement and aggregates, CEMEX also produces asphalt, and has a significant share of the roof tile, rail sleepers, concrete-block paving, and concrete-block segments. CEMEX has a national supply network in the UK to ensure that quality building materials are available to customers locally. For more information, see www.CEMEX.co.uk or www.CEMEX.com.

Hydrock
Hydrock is a long term provider of remediation contracting services to CEMEX and other major industrial clients with other services delivered nationally including engineering design, environmental advice and specialist ground engineering contracting services. For more information, see www.hydrock.com.

Armoury Group
Specialist demolition and recycling contractor experienced in the demolition of complex industrial and municipal structures.