US: Vicat subsidiary National Cement has received a fine of US$148,000 from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) for exceeding mercury emissions regulations over a 123-day period between May 2019 and February 2020 at its integrated Ragland plant in Alabama. The Daily Home newspaper has reported that unexpectedly high mercury levels in coal and other raw materials burned as fuel during that time caused the breach, which the company immediately reported to ADEM.
National Cement president Spencer Weitman said, “The issue took several months to fix.” Multiple upgrades and operational changes solved the issue, including installation of a US$400,000 mercury absorption carbon injection system. ADEM said, “National Cement did not economically benefit from the emissions violations.”
In January 2020 National Cement began work on construction of a new US$250m kiln line, due for completion in 2022.