Utah's Cement Industry
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This page was last updated on June 19, 2016.
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Cement In Utah
The following comes from Utah - Resources and Activities, Utah Department of Public Instruction, 1933, page 359:
In 1824, an Englishman by the name of Aspdin, a stone mason of Leeds, burned limestone and clay together, then ground both into a powder, which when mixed with sand and water became exceedingly hard. The stone thus formed resembled the stone from the Isle of Portland, England. The product, therefore, acquired the name of Portland Cement. In 1871, David O. Sayler of Pennsylvania secured a patent on a cement closely resembling Portland Cement. He was the first producer in this country and upon this small beginning there was founded one of America's greatest industries.
The making of Portland Cement in Utah was first undertaken in 1890. In that year a corporation called the Utah Portland Cement Company built a plant in Parleys Canyon in Salt Lake City. This company made a cement by using shale and limestone and operated only on a small scale. Its product was not of the best. Three years later  the company's holdings were taken over by a larger concern. New methods for making Portland Cement were used and the process was similar to that used in Pennsylvania. At that time, 1896, the only other plant in operation on a commercial scale west of the Mississippi River was at Colton, California.
Three modern cement plants are located in Utah: the pioneer plant as above mentioned at Salt Lake City, one at Devil's Slide in Morgan County , and one in Bakers, near Brigham City . The first two plants use for raw materials limestone and shale. The plant at Bakers uses calcareous marl and clay from the old lake beds northwest of Brigham City.
The raw materials are combined chemically by burning in a rotary kiln and using pulverized coal as a fuel and creating a temperature of 2500 to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, considerably hotter than is required to melt steel. The new compound is ground to a very fine powder, and to this mass is added during the grinding process a small quantity of gypsum to regulate the time of hardening. The manufacturing process involves 80-odd steps.
The three Utah plants have a combined daily capacity of 5,400 barrels (21,600 bags) of cement or 1,750,000 barrels per year and they represent an investment of about $4,500,000. The products are shipped to Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Arizona although about eighty-five per cent of the annual output is consumed in Utah. The plants employ directly several hundred men.
In its annual forecast for the cement industry, Cement Americas magazine wrote in its January 1999 issue, "Utah will probably see the highest consumption increases in this region in 1999 due to continuing preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Also, work on the $1.6 billion, 17-mile Interstate 15 highway reconstruction project will continue through July 2001."
Portland cement and lime were the second-highest-value (up from third in 2001) industrial minerals produced in 2002, with a combined value of $159 million. Two operators produce Portland cement in Utah: Holcim, Inc. (formerly Holnam, Inc.) and Ash Grove Cement Company. Holcim's Devils Slide mine and plant is east of Morgan in Morgan County, and Ash Grove's Leamington mine and plant is east of Lynndyl in Juab County. The companies have a combined capacity of more than 1.4 million mt (1.5 million st) of cement annually. Both plants operated near capacity in 2002, with total production slightly exceeding that of 2001. In addition to limestone, both Holcim and Ash Grove Cement mine modest amounts of shale and sandstone that are used in the manufacture of cement. Lime production was about 3 percent higher in 2002 than 2001.
There are two suppliers of lime in Utah, with a combined capacity of more than 0.9 million mt (1.0 million st) per year: Graymont Western U.S., Inc. (formerly Continental Lime Company), which produces dolomitic quick lime and high-calcium quick lime; and Chemical Lime of Arizona, Inc., which produces dolomitic quick lime and hydrated lime. Both operations serve markets in Utah and surrounding states. Graymont Western's plant is in the Cricket Mountains, approximately 56 km (35 miles) southwest of Delta in Millard County, and is one of the 10 largest lime plants in the United States. Chemical Lime of Arizona's plant is about 13 km (8 miles) northwest of Grantsville in Tooele County. An additional 10 to 12 operators quarried about 2.1 million mt (2.3 million st) of limestone and dolomite in 2002 that was used mainly for construction and flue-gas desulfurization in coal fired power plants. A small amount of limestone and dolomite is also crushed to a fine powder and marketed as "rock dust" to the coal mining industry. The three largest suppliers of crushed limestone used for construction are: Harper Construction Company, from one quarry in Salt Lake County; Valley Asphalt Company, from two quarries in Utah County; and Pelican Point Rock Products Company (formerly Larsen Limestone Company), from one quarry in Utah County. (2002 Summary of Mineral Activity in Utah)
Salt Lake City Plant
Includes quarry in Parleys Canyon.
The following comes from Davis County Clipper, October 15, 1937, "Best Cement All Utah".
In 1890 the Utah Portland Cement Co. built a plant in Salt Lake City which, for three years, made natural cement on a small scale and experimented with Portland cement. LaGue & Campbell took the plant over in 1893 and installed a kiln of the Danish ring oven type. Commercial production was not attained until in 1895 when Topham Richardson, an Englishman, financed a small dome kiln and actually made satisfactory Portland cement. "Clinker", the hard globules resulting from heating the raw cement mixture to incipient fusion, was burned, ground on a set of old-fashioned flour mill burrs and sold.
In 1892 the English interests bought out LaGue & Campbell and built a new plant. They produced from 40 to 50 barrels per day of fairly good Portland cement. In the spring of 1898 the plant of the Utah Portland Cement Co. was swept by a fire. It was rebuilt by the English owners with a 40-foot kiln and electrical power. They found a market for about 100 barrels per day, extending from Great Falls on the north to San Francisco on the west and Denver on the east. The plant was completely remodeled and brought to a capacity of 1000 barrels a day in 1910. It was taken over by the present owners in 1915 and , in 1925-26, changed from a dry to a wet-process plant. Now it has two kilns 185 feet long and a producing capacity of about 1500 barrels a day.
"The large cement manufacturing plant located at the corner of Fifth West and Eighth South streets, which has been lying idle for several months, is about to be put into operation and worked to its full capacity." "The plant was placed in its present location in the latter part of 1891, by the Western Cement Co., the principle stockholders being John and James Sharp, C. W. Lyman, George Y. Wallace and Ellias Morris. the cement material was chiefly obtained in Parleys canyon, about five miles above the mouth. The works were operated for some time, but not profitably, and were closed down." (Deseret News, April 26, 1893)
In 1894 a kiln was completed but the design was not successful. A suit was filed against the holder of the patent, Centenito Brick Kiln & Dryer Company, and after two years, in 1896, a settlement was awarded the cement company. The manager of the company, Thomas C. Cairns, obtained a different design from an eastern firm and a new kiln was erected. At the same time, an English investor became interested and bought the entire company. The first cement was produced in large quantities in the fall of 1896. (Deseret News, April 12, 1897; June 1, 1898)
"The Utah Portland Cement company, which for the past two years or more has been operating and experimenting in this city, has just finished the erection of a kiln, 100 feet high, which is twenty feet in circumference at the base and four feet seven inches around at the top. the kiln was built by contractor S. S. Newton of this city and is of German design and somewhat peculiar in shape. It is thought to be the only one of its kind west of the Missouri river." "In its construction between three and four hundred thousand fire brick were used. These brick were of special forms made for that particular work and came from Pueblo, Colorado. Some of the forms weighed as high as 825 pounds, while others tipped the scales at 125 pounds. It peculiar construction has to be seen to be appreciated. The company's works are located at the corner of Fifth West and Eighth South streets." "When the new kiln is thoroughly dry the company proposes to commence active work, and it is thought that this time they will be successful in manufacturing and placing on the market a superior grade of genuine Portland cement." (Deseret News, February 13, 1897)
May 31, 1898
A fire destroyed the works of Utah Portland Cement Co. on the night of May 31, 1898. All that remained was brick walls, large smokestacks and damaged machinery. After production had resumed in early 1897, and throughout 1897, the company had shipped 10,000 barrels of cement to Idaho and Montana, and another 2,000 barrels were used within Salt Lake City. At the time of the fire, the company was filling an order for 5,000 barrels of cement to be used in the construction of the Denver mint. (Deseret News, June 1, 1898)
Rio Grande Western Railway was to lay third rail over the narrow gauge Utah Central line from Salt Lake City to the cement plant in Parleys Canyon, and would use a standard gauge locomotive to "shuttle" cars from the plant to Salt Lake City. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 3, 1899; September 19, 1899)
April 4, 1900
"The smokestack of the old Portland cement works at 612 West Seventh South was razed to the ground yesterday." The smokestack was 118 feet tall and contained 90,000 bricks and several tons of iron and stone, and was demolished by use of Giant powder. Also, after several attempts, the adjacent kiln was demolished. The kiln was 105 feet high, thirty-five feet at the base and twelve feet at the top and made up of 250,000 bricks. (Deseret News, April 5, 1900)
By this time the company name was Portland Cement Company of Utah, Ltd. (Deseret News, June 7, 1904; June 9, 1904)
A contractor in Boise ordered 20 carloads of Portland cement, or 2000 barrels. (Deseret News, September 18, 1901)
September 9, 1946
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 24.10 miles of the Park City Branch, between Cement Quarry and Park City, including 2.5 miles of joint trackage in Park City with UP. (ICC Finance Docket 15259, in 267 ICC 802)
January 4, 1956
D&RGW operated the last train to the lime rock cement quarry in Parleys Canyon on the old Park City Branch. The quarry was owned by Utah Portland Cement, and the rock was hauled by D&RGW to the company's cement plant on 900 South. The end of operations was on a three-mile segment of the branch and was needed to support the beginning of construction of a new highway in the canyon. The branch was to have a new end-of-track at Alexander, at the mouth of the canyon, under the Stillman Bridge. The last train was made up of five loaded GS gondolas, a caboose, and an F-M switcher. Almost immediately after the last train, Utah Department of Transportation contractors bulldozed 18 feet of fill dirt over the tracks as part of the new highway construction. (Deseret News, January 5, 1956, courtesy of Dave Gayer)
A quarry in Parley's Canyon, operated by Portland Cement Company of Utah, supplies the needs of the company's Salt Lake City cement plant. Production figures are not available for publication. However, the capacity of the plant is 6,000 barrels per day. (Utah Mining Association, "Operational and Economic Review, August 1967, page 65)
Portland Cement Company of Utah was sold to Lone Star Industries in August 1979. (Deseret News, August 14, 1979)
Lone Star Industries shut down its Salt Lake City cement plant. Plans were for a temporary plant closure, but market conditions did not improve and the closure was made permanent. (Deseret News, October 22, 1989)
The Lone Star cement plant in Salt Lake City was one of four plants closed by Lone Star Industries in 1988, because of either declining markets or increased competition from imports. The Salt Lake City plant was leased to Mountain Cement Co. and was expected to be used as a distribution terminal. (U. S. Bureau of Mines; Minerals Yearbook, 1988)
"The 60-acre Parleys Canyon quarry was started in 1896, said Tony Gallegos, reclamation engineer in the State of Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining minerals program. Portland Cement purchased the quarry in 1936 to mine limestone. Lone Star Industries purchased it in 1983. The quarry was closed in 1988, with reclamation completed one year later, Mr. Gallegos said." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 28, 1992)
Lone Star Industries filed for bankruptcy protection. Lone Star began as International Cement Corporation in Maine in 1919; changed its name to Lone Star Cement Corp. in 1936; changed its name to Lone Star Industries in 1971. The company emerged from bankruptcy in April 1994, after selling many of its assets. (The Hour [Norwalk, CT], December 10, 1990; October 14, 1994)
From its incorporation in Utah in June 1958 through approximately August 1982, Portland Cement Company of Utah operated a cement manufacturing plant located in Salt Lake County at 615 West 800 South. In 1979 Lone Star acquired all of the stock of Portland Cement. In approximately August 1982 Lone Star acquired the plant from Portland Cement and thereafter continued its operation. As part of this same transaction, Lone Star acquired the right to continue to operate the plant under the assumed name of Portland Cement and assumed the rights and liabilities associated with the plant. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit - 960 F.2d 917 (1992) April 7, 1992; Lone Star Industries, Inc., Plaintiff-appellant, v. Horman Family Trust, et. al)
Portland Cement Superfund Cleanup Site
Beginning in about May 1996, Southern Pacific operated special soil disposal trains to remove contaminated soil from what was known as the Portland Cement Superfund Cleanup Site, located near 1000 South and Redwood Road on Salt Lake City's west side. The site was on the north side of the Surplus Canal, and a loading conveyor system was installed to move the contaminated soil from the site, across the canal to load trains on the south side of the canal. Trains were limited to 47 cars to prevent blocking grade crossings in the vicinity, which was on the north area of the old Small Arms Plant. After loading, the special trains operated eastward over the former D&RGW Small Arms Plant (SAP) branch to Roper Yard, then over Soldier Summit to Sunnyside for disposal at the East Carbon Development Corporation's disposal site. The cleanup continued through December 1997. (EPA 1998 Record of Decision; EPA ID: UTD980718670; "Portland Cement Kiln Dust 2 & 3")
The cement kilns generally relied on coal as fuel, but because temperatures needed to roast cement are so high, cement companies used all kinds of low cost fuel, including waste solvents, shredded tires and other materials that may have contained toxic chemicals. The contaminated dust was left over after the fuel was burned and the cement "clinkers" have been separated and removed. The resulting waste material was removed to a disposal site away from the plant itself. In this case, the disposal site was west of Redwood Road.
The Portland Cement Superfund Cleanup Site consisted of 71 acres, and the cement kiln dust was piled 3 to 8 feet deep. Included in the kiln dust was kiln brick debris. The site had been placed on EPA's National Priorities List in July 1986. The site had been used between 1965 and 1983 by Utah Portland Cement Co., which was bought by Lone Star Industries, Inc., in September 1979. At that time the company name was changed to Utah Portland Quarries, Inc. The site had been used as a disposal site for cement kiln dust and brick debris. Lone Star began its own environmental investigation in April 1984, working with the State of Utah beginning in 1985, and with the federal EPA in June 1986. Investigation and site assessment continued until 1994, when all parties agreed to the formal cleanup and work commenced. As early as August 1994, East Carbon Development Corporation had expressed an interest, and had provided a competitive bid to be the disposal site. The total cost of the cleanup was projected to be $23 million. Cleanup of the site was completed in Spring 1999, with ground water continuing to be monitored. Although declared clean, as of late 2014, the site was still being monitored for any latent environmental concerns.
Devils Slide Cement Plant
Seeing the potential of the limestone mountain, a group of Ogden businessmen formed the Union Portland Cement Company and began construction of a cement plant in the spring of 1904. That first plant boasted small dry kilns capable of producing about 110,000 metric tons of cement annually. After World War II, the company was known as Ideal Cement Company and a new plant was constructed with two long wet kilns that produced about 320,000 metric tons annually. In 1986, one of the largest cement producers in the world, Holderbank Financere Glaris of Switzerland, purchased the company. The company has also been known as Ideal Basic Industries and Holnam. Construction of the latest plant proceeded in February of 1996. Plant employees still use 45-year-old silos along with newer silos, which can store about 115,000 tons of powdered cement. (Standard Examiner, October 22, 2004)
"Union Portland Cement Co. constructed a plant in Weber canyon at Devils Slide in 1906. With four kilns it produces about 2000 barrels of 'Red Devil' cement a day, employs an average of 150 men and owns a town with dwellings, water system, general store, drug store, hotel, clubhouse, recreation grounds and sewers." (Davis County Clipper, October 15, 1937, "Best Cement All Utah")
Union Portland Cement announced that it would build a plant at Croydon. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 15, 1906, p. 30) Production began in June 1907. (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 30, 1907, p. 31)
March 9, 1906
The Union Portland Cement Company filed its articles of incorporation. Officers included C. W. Nibley as president, and Joseph Scowcroft, M. S. Browning and Senator Smoot as vice presidents. All were residents of Ogden. (Deseret News, March 9, 1906)
In June 1932 the Grass Creek Coal Company began shipping coal to the Union Portland Cement plant at Devils Slide, which was in heavy production to furnish cement for the construction of Boulder Dam. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 2381, approved June 15, 1940)
Cement rock is quarried at Devils Slide and processed into cement at the big Ideal Cement Co. plant nearby. This is by far Morgan County's major mineral industry. Production value runs into several millions of dollars each year. Vast reserves of rock suitable for cement assure continued production for many years to come. It is interesting to note that the cement plant uses substantial tonnages of iron concentrates from Iron County and gypsum rock from Sevier County in the preparation of its products. (Utah Mining Association, "Operational and Economic Review, August 1967, page 58)
Ideal Cement, which operates the plant at Devils Slide, changed it name to Holnam to reflect its place in a larger group of companies. (CementAmericas.com; broken link)
In late 1995 Holcim (US) Inc. decided to build a new dry process cement plant at it's Devil's Slide, Utah plant site to replace an older wet process plant.
Since 1998, Holnam has increased its cement capacity by 1.5 million mt through plant expansions at its Devils Slide, Utah and Midlothian, Texas plants. The company's Florence, Colorado location will be the source of an additional 1.1 million mt when construction of a new plant at that site is completed later this year. (CementAmericas.com; broken link)
December 15, 2001
Operator of Morgan plant has new name. Michigan-based Holnam Inc., which operates a cement manufacturing facility in Croydon, Morgan County, has changed its name to Holcim (US) Inc. The company said the change would align it with its Swiss-based corporate parent, originally Holderbank Financiere Glaris Ltd., which changed its name to Holcim Ltd. this year. "Holcim" combines "hol" from the Holderbank name and "cim" from "cimint," the French word for cement and the company's core product. Holcim (US) has 15 manufacturing plants and more than 70 distribution facilities in the United States. It has about 2,500 employees and supplies nearly 15 million metric tons of cement and related materials each year. Revenues in 2000 were about $1.2 billion. The Holcim group has more than 45,000 workers worldwide. (Deseret News, December 15, 2001, page D12)
For the year 2001 Holcim used 844,000 tons of limestone in its cement production from the Devil' s Slide Quarry. For 2002 the limestone production from the Devil's Slide Quarry was 783,028 tons.
In an interview in November 2002, the president of Holcim provided the following.
Globally, we have historically operated as a group of individual companies, each company looking to serve customers in its regional markets. Increasingly, we see an industry that's more global in its scope and operations, and so the Holcim Group embarked on a transition from being this group of local and regional companies to a single, worldwide operating group. Here within the United States, we've had some experience with this because Holnam was a brand adopted in 1990 to signify the coming together of a group of individual regional companies known as the Dundee Cement Co., the Santee Cement Co., Northwestern States Portland Cement, Ideal Basic Industries, and United Cement. So we had some experience from the last ten years of becoming a single operating group. (CementAmericas.com; broken link)
June 21, 2007
Palladon Ventures Ltd. is pleased to announce that a five-year renewable contract has been executed with Holcim Inc. for the sale of iron ore materials crucial to the cement manufacturing process. Iron ore material will be sold FOB the Comstock/Mountain Lion Mine at Iron Mountain, Utah, and shipped by truck by Holcim to their 800,000-ton capacity Devils Slide facility in Morgan, Utah. Holcim Ltd. is one of the leading global manufacturers and suppliers of cement, aggregates, and mineral components. Holcim Ltd. operates in over 70 countries around the world, employing over 90,000 people. In the United States, Holcim Inc. is one of the largest suppliers of Portland and blended cements, operating 14 manufacturing plants and over 70 distribution facilities, supplying more than 14 million metric tonnes of cement and related materials annually. (Palladon Ventures news release dated June 21, 2007)
Brigham City Cement Plant
Development began of the "Marl" beds northwest of Brigham City. The Box Elder newspaper wrote "a certain area of the lake bed amounting to 1300 acres with a depth from the surface of 9 feet shows by chemical analysis to carry uniformly 81 percent of Carbonate of Lime, 7-1/3 percent silica and 1.9 percent Alumina and Iron Oxide. There are no rebellious elements in the deposit. This deposit of marl by itself has not the chemical elements in proper propositions to make Portland cement but fortunately directly underlying this deposit of Marl is a blue clay by analysis shows that it contains 49 percent in Silica and 14 percent in Alumina and 3 percent in Oxide of Iron and this clay mixed in the proportion of practically one part of clay to four parts of Marl makes a cement equal to the best English or German Portland cement." (Box Elder News, May 21, 1908)
Ogden Portland Cement Company was organized and incorporated to develop the clay barrens northwest of Brigham City, on the property of Henry C. Baker, who would also be a director of the company. (Box Elder News, May 6, 1909)
OSL completed construction of the spur to serve the cement plant of Ogden Portland Cement Company, located near Brigham City. The 1.1-mile line connected with the OSL main line at Bakers and ended at the cement plant, called Opco by the railroad. (ICC Financial Docket 15740, 267 ICC 633) By February 1910 the cement plant was in full production. (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 30, 1910, page 23)
December 21, 1909
The first loads of clay and "Marl" were dumped into the material pits, and grinding commenced at the Ogden Portland Cement's new plant near Brigham City. Full production was to begin after the first of the year. (Box Elder News, December 23, 1909, "Monday")
February 4, 1910
The first bags of Portland cement were shipped from the new plant of Ogden Portland Cement Co. The first customer was Merrell Lumber Co. of Brigham City. Construction of the plant had begun on June 23, 1909, with the ceremonial ground breaking. Formal operations began on January 5, 1910. (Box Elder News, February 10, 1910, "last Friday"; September 1, 1910, "One Of Our Great Industries")
February 22, 1910
The first rail carload of Portland cement from the Ogden Portland Cement Co., arrived in Salt Lake City. (Carbon County News, February 25, 1910, "Monday"
October 31, 1924
Ogden Portland Cement Co. shut down its plant, and laid off its 45 workers due to a lack of market for its product. On January 9, 1925, the company was purchased by a newly organized company, Utah-Idaho Portland Cement Company. The new company had the same out-of-state officers and directors, without any local people involved. The new company also owned an undeveloped material reserve near Pocatello, Idaho. (Box Elder News, November 4, 1924; January 13, 1925)
Six and one-half miles northwest of Brigham City a cement plant was built in 1910 by Utah-Idaho Cement Co. Capacity was increased in 1917 by the addition of a third kiln, to 1300 barrels per day. later the buildings were partly destroyed by fire and they have not been rebuilt. (Davis County Clipper, October 15, 1937, "Best Cement All Utah")
Leamington Cement Plant
Some 20,000 to 25,000 tons of limestone from the Leamington Lime Quarry operated by George H. Chaffin. The lime rock was loaded at Leamington on Union Pacific, and was used each year by Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. in the manufacture of quicklime for use in its Garland and Salt Lake City sugar refineries. (Utah Mining Association, "Operational and Economic Review, August 1967, page 51)
In a 1992 report by the USGS, the Chaffin quarry at Leamington was specifically cited as the location of the cement quarry being operated by Ash Grove Cement. ("Industrial Minerals in the Basin and Range Region-Workshop Proceedings;" Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Mines, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, the Utah Geological Survey, and the Idaho Geological Survey Presentations and discussion at a workshop held May 30, 31, and June 1, 1990, in Salt Lake City, Utah; United States Geological Survey Bulletin 2013.)
History of the Leamington Plant:
- Facility opened in 1980; built and operated by Martin Marietta Cement, Mountain Division, a subsidiary of Martin Marietta Corp.
- Ash Grove Cement purchased plant in 1989
- Substantial upgrades in 1996
- New finish mill installed in 2001
- Automated cement loading system completed in 2006
As early as 1978, there were significant efforts to develop the limestone reserves at the Leamington quarry. In a joint project by Stansbury Mining Corporation, Chaffin Investment Company, Leamington Cement Company, and Martin Marietta Corporation, a multiphase drilling and development agreement was signed in late December 1978. It was hoped that this exploration phase would result in indications that there were sufficient reserves of limestone and allied materials to justify a Phase II, an engineering phase. Included in this second phase were plans to build a cement plant with 400,000 tons annual capacity. (Beaver County News, December 28, 1978)
"The Leamington Portland cement plant straddles Highway 132 in eastern Juab County. Martin Marietta Corporation completed construction of this 650,000 ton-per-year plant in 1980 to supply cement for the proposed MX missile program. The U.S. Government later scrapped plans for the MX system but there was enough regional construction to justify operating the plant. Martin Marietta produced the first cement on November 15, 1981, and ran the plant until April 1984. Southwestern Portland Cement ran the plant from April 1984 until it was purchased in May 1989 by Ash Grove Cement Company, headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. Ash Grove increased plant capacity to 850,000 tons per year in 1995-96. While most of the U.S. cement producers are foreign owned, Ash Grove is currently  the largest domestically owned Portland cement company in the United States, operating nine plants." (Survey Notes magazine, published by Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Volume 35, Number 2, April 2003)
In the 1979-1983 time period, it was thought that the construction of the MX missile system would require significant amounts of cement. The multiple basing mode for the MX ICBM was approved in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter, calling for multiple permanent sites throughout western Utah and eastern Nevada, connected by a system of railroad tracks, with trains moving the limited number of missiles among the various launch sites; also known as the "shell game" mode. Throughout 1981 and 1982, support turned to opposition. In 1983 the shell game basing plan was canceled, and the MX missiles were placed in modified Minuteman silos in Wyoming.
A more realistic reason for the construction of the Leamington cement plant was the planned construction of the Intermountain Power Project at Delta, 24 miles to the west.
The Intermountain Power Project was proposed in 1973 and organized in January 1974. Planning for the generating station started in mid 1977, and the site near Delta was selected in December 1979. Formal construction started in September 1981. The project was completed in June 1985 and began producing power in June 1986.
"Further developments included Martin Marietta Corp.'s announced construction of an $85 million cement plant approximately 105 miles south of Salt Lake City in Leamington, Millard County. Construction of the 650,000-ton-per-year facility was to begin during the summer of 1980 and to be completed by mid-1982. The estimate includes construction costs, the cost of establishing marketing terminals in Salt Lake City, and associated engineering and management costs." (U. S. Bureau of Mines; Minerals Yearbook, 1978-79, Volume 2, page 529)
November 14, 1981
"On November 14, 1981, the new $85 million, 650,000-ton-per-year Leamington plant of Martin Marietta Corp.'s Mountain Div. came online. The dry-process operation, constructed in a record-breaking 17 months and 9 days, is about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City. Part of the project is the new distribution terminal located at Murray, Salt Lake County. Cement will be distributed to markets in Utah; western Colorado; and sections of Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming." (U. S. Bureau of Mines; Minerals Yearbook, 1981, Volume 2, page 497)
Martin-Marietta leased the Leamington plant, with an option to buy, to Southwestern Portland Cement Company of Houston, Texas. The capacity was reported as 650,000 tons per year. (Deseret News, February 24, 1984; Southwestern Portland Cement press release dated April 4, 1984; Survey Notes magazine, published by Utah Geological and Mineral Survey, Volume 19, Number 3, Autumn 1985, page 3)
Ash Grove Cement purchased the Leamington cement plant from Martin-Marietta, which had been operated under lease by Southwestern Portland Cement Company since early 1984. (Ash Grove press release dated May 9, 1989; Deseret News, May 15, 1989)
In spring 2001, Ash Grove improved the way its Leamington plant took in both coal fuel and cement-rock feedstock by the installation of what was called a "Posimetric Feeder". By 2003, twenty months after installation, the feeder was performing well. During 2003, the Leamington plant had a capacity of 840,000 tons per year. Leamington is one of four plants that use the dry process, with four other plants using the wet process to manufacture cement. (CementAmericas.com; broken link)
Ash Grove began operations in 1882 at Ash Grove, Missouri, as Ash Grove Lime Stone Association. Its cement operations started in 1908 at a plant in Chanute, Kansas. Today , Ash Grove is the sixth largest cement producing company in North America and the largest U.S.-owned cement company. It has a manufacturing capacity of nine million tons between nine plants in Foreman, Arkansas; Chanute, Kansas; Durkee, Oregon; Inkom, Idaho; Leamington, Utah; Louisville, Nebraska; Midlothian, Texas; Montana City, Montana; and Seattle, Washington.