GCC Rio Grande Inc. (GCC) is seeking an air permit revision from the state of Colorado that would allow it to boost cement production, and also coal consumption, at a relatively new Portland cement plant located about 6 miles south of Pueblo and east of Highway I-25.
The Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is taking public comment on the proposed air permit change until April 16.
The initial application for construction of the cement plant was submitted to the division in 1998 and the initial approval permit was granted to Rio Grande Cement Corp. in September 2000. In May 2002, the division granted a modification for the name change of the facility from Rio Grande Portland Cement to GCC Rio Grande. The permit’s plant construction deadline was extended several times. Clinker production at the newly constructed Pueblo Cement Plant began in February 2008 and cement production began in April 2008, said a division permitting notice.
The current permit revision application requests various changes to the permit, including:
- an increase in permitted clinker production from 950,000 to 1,175,300 tons per year;
- an increase in the annual amount of raw materials extracted from the quarry from 1,540,000 to 2,245,293 tons per year;
- an increase in the permitted cement production from 1,050,000 to 1,410,360 tons per year;
- addition of tire derived fuel (TDF) as an alternate fuel for the kiln system;
- and an increase in permitted fuel (coal and TDF) throughput from 122,250 to 198,418 tons per year.
GCC Rio Grande is controlled by Mexico’s Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, which also controls Colorado coal producer GCC Energy LLC. GCC Energy’s King II deep mine is located in La Plata County and turned out 618,066 tons in 2011 and 521,839 tons in 2010, according to U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data.
“GCC (Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua) is a world-class company that produces, distributes and markets cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates, and innovative products related to the construction industries in Mexico and the United States,” said the company’s website. “After the 2008 completion of our brand-new plant in Pueblo, CO, USA, GCC has now reached an installed annual capacity of 5 million tons of cement production: 2.5 million output from our three plants in US, and 2.5 million from three plants in Mexico.”