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Dozens of jobs under threat in Buxton

Tunstead Quarry and cement plant near Buxton, the High Peak's largest quarry and one of the largest limestone quarries in Europe

Tunstead Quarry and cement plant near Buxton, the High Peak's largest quarry and one of the largest limestone quarries in Europe

Dozens of jobs hang in the balance after it was announced on Tuesday that a cement firm could be forced to sell its Buxton plant.

Lafarge Tarmac, who own Tunstead Quarry, on Waterswallows Road, have been instructed by the Competition Commision to sell one of its two plants to enable a new company to compete in the industry.

The Tunstead site, which also produces lime, concrete and aggregates, employs over 75 people directly at the cement works.

Paul Rands, Lafarge Tarmac’s cement plant manager, said: “We think the Competition Commission has got it wrong. Tunstead is a great plant, with a skilled and dedicated workforce.

“We will continue to focus on safety, customers, the community and running the plant efficiently and believe this is the best way to safeguard our future.

“It is too early speculate on any future divestment – we have just seen the final report and are reviewing the detail and considering our future options.”

He added: “Should the cement plant be divested it will be done so as a going concern. The Competition Commission wants to find a buyer who will form a new competitor in the market, which will continue to operate the site. As such, in the event of the plant being sold, there is likely to be minimal impact on jobs.”

Cyrille Ragoucy, Lafarge chief executive, said he was “disappointed” the building materials firm was being asked to divest another cement plant only a year after the commission allowed the creation of its joint venture with Tarmac.

He said: “This is not reasonable or proportionate and we have not been given a fair opportunity to defend our position. The commission has based its remedies on a partial and historic picture of the market.

“Its analysis of industry profitability is flawed, grossly overestimating the returns made. Regrettably, the biggest loser in this process would be the customer. We are focused on making a decision that is in the best interests of our employees, customers and shareholders.”

 

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