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Blue Circle and Michelin in joint venture

BLUE Circle Industries and Michelin Tyre plc are to form a joint venture, Sapphire Energy Recovery, to prepare scrap tyres for use as fuel in BCI's cement kilns. This joint venture is the first of its kind between a UK cement maker and tyre manufacturer and will help to reduce the tyre disposal problem in the UK.

By 2003 BCI will be able to use up to half of the 39.5 million tyres (467,650 tonnes) currently scrapped in the UK each year. The tyres will be used at the majority of the company's works to replace some of the coal and petroleum coke traditionally used as fuel.

The joint venture will provide BCI with savings of £6 million a year within the next five years and represents a further step towards delivery of the company's performance targets.

Rob Davies, operations director for Blue Circle Cement UK said: 'Going into partnership with Michelin makes perfect sense as they are the market leaders in Europe with extensive knowledge of the tyre market. We can use this knowledge to help provide the tyre industry with cost-effective solutions for environmentally sound scrap tyre disposal, while also reducing energy bills in the cement-making process.'

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