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2020 / 2021 Edition

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UK energy and carbon policies hitting lime industry

Dr Pal Chana

Impact of steel plant closures ripples out with mothballing of Thrislington dolime plant

THE recent announcement to mothball the Lhoist Thrislington dolomitic lime production plant with 40 job losses as a direct result of recent UK steel manufacturing site closures highlights the similarity of issues faced by the lime and steel industry.

Both industries are highly energy intensive and face spiralling energy and carbon costs as a result of ‘green levies’. Like steel, lime is internationally traded and at present the UK’s energy and carbon policies are diminishing the competitive position of the industry.

High-calcium and dolomitic lime are used extensively as a flux for removing impurities in the production of iron and steel and, in total, 35% of all industrial lime and dolime production is sold directly to the industry.

The lime industry, traditionally located in rural areas with limited alternative employment opportunities, is also an important supplier supporting the UK construction, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

The British Lime Association, part of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), represents the interests of the three main UK lime manufacturers, covering more than 75% of the industrial lime sold in the UK.

More than 1.25 million tonnes of lime, made from quarried limestone or chalk, is produced every year with approximately 20% of sales exported to EU and non-EU countries.

Dr Pal Chana, executive director with the MPA, commented: ‘The recent steel plant closures are having a large knock-on effect on the lime industry. Alongside this, the UK’s energy and carbon policies are diminishing the competitive position of the sector.

‘Lime has not yet benefitted from any state relief through the EII (Energy-Intensive Industries) package and it is vital the sector receives maximum carbon-leakage protection in the tiering system that the UK is advocating for the reform of the EU ETS (Emissions Trading System).’

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