Holcim's $50m cement terminal 'minion' opened at Timaru's port
The "minion" has been brought to life.
Holcim New Zealand's new $50 million cement terminal at Timaru's port was officially opened on Thursday afternoon.
The 30,000 tonne storage dome – the first of its kind in New Zealand – has unloaded two ships since December and is set to be an important gateway for cement for the South Island and lower North Island.
The company's aim is for 18 in-bound ships a year to Timaru with the Holcim-owned Milburn Carrier II shipping out-bound orders from its berth at the reconstructed No 2 wharf.
Another $50m Holcim dome in Auckland is under construction and on track to be opened by mid-2016.
Economic development minister Steven Joyce and Rangitata MP Jo Goodhew cut the ceremonial ribbon in Timaru in front of a 70-strong crowd including dignitaries, Holcim staff and customers.
Holcim New Zealand country manager Glenda Harvey said the so-called "minion" had been made a reality on time and within budget.
"This is an historic day for our company. Thank you to everyone for the teamwork required to achieve it."
Fifty people worked on the Timaru terminal's construction and six full-time employees had been on-site since the last quarter of 2015.
Holcim will now become PrimePort Timaru's single largest bulk customer.
Harvey said the terminal had "understandable" teething issues unloading its first shipment in December but things were back on track.
"We're obviously in a bit of a trial phase but the second shipment has been done in half the time so I am happy with where we are at."
Goodhew said having Holcim come to Timaru was a vote of confidence in the South Canterbury region.
"The first time I saw the dome I knew it was going to be there but I still thought it was bit of a spaceship," she said.
The company's sponsorship of local events and scholarships had shown Holcim had a genuine interest in being a part of the community and Goodhew said she hoped that continued.
Joyce said South Canterbury remained "durable" as its export-focused industries helped it get through a difficult time for dairying.
"Some would say it [South Canterbury] holds up the Canterbury economy," Joyce said. "I wouldn't say that but some would."
The minister, who had a dildo thrown at him at Waitangi earlier in the month, twitched as a passing car tooted during his speech.
"I had to make sure the window wasn't open," he said. "I'm slightly twitchy these days."