The local economy turned upside down. The LafargeHolcim cement group will close its cement plant in Contes, near Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) by the end of the year, we learned from the company and local elected officials. A decision that has the effect of an earthquake for this basin where the cement plant is synonymous with 65 direct and 300 indirect jobs.
“The production tools of the Contes plant are aging and the cement plant has been running for years at less than 40% of its capacity,” said a spokesperson for the company, confirming that the project had been presented to representatives. of the factory staff on Wednesday.
The La Malle plant in Bouc-Bel-Air, in Bouches-du-Rhône, is to take over from the Contes plant, located 20 km from Nice and Monaco, which will be transformed into a depot of cement and will continue its activity of receiving inert cuttings.
“A technological upheaval of the market”
“The cement market is experiencing a technological upheaval. We will need completely different and very low carbon cements. To achieve this, very significant investments are needed to adapt our production tools to this technological breakthrough, ”he added.
According to management, “which is committed to offering solutions to everyone in order to avoid forced dismissals”, 65 employees are concerned “by the end of 2021-beginning of 2022”.
“This represents 300 induced jobs,” contests Alain Michellis, deputy mayor of Contes, one of the few PCF town halls on the Côte d’Azur. “And it’s still a decision that goes against the government’s declarations of intent on the need to keep our industry. Here is a small unit, profitable, which one brutally closed ”. And the elected official insisted: “There is not a family that does not have one of its members who worked at Lafarge. Contes and the Paillons valley were built around ”.
Elected officials of all stripes have reacted. Senator LR Dominique Estrosi-Sassone particularly regretted “the brutality of the announcement, without consultation and without precision, while the law requires large companies to find a buyer during collective dismissal procedures”.
The Contes cement site is over 150 years old and had been in the hands of Lafarge since 1906. Its location was historically justified by the proximity of the main raw materials for its activity, with two marl and limestone quarries.