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Emmi: Expansion of Kaltbach Cave (Lucerne), First Construction Phase Successfully Completed

Source: Emmi Group

Lucerne, 22 October 2009 - Over the past twelve months, the cheese-ageing cave has been extended a further 1,200 metres.

The excavation work was completed on time and the surrounding buildings are currently undergoing expansion and conversion. The commencement of operations is scheduled for spring 2010. The cave has been doubled in length owing to the growing demand for KALTBACH cheese specialities in Switzerland and abroad.

Half time on the construction site in Kaltbach: Following the official groundbreaking in October 2008, a widely branching cave system was bored into the sandstone of the Santenberg in the canton of Lucerne over the course of around a year. The deep-mining specialists from Rothpletz, Lienhard + Cie AG excavated a total of around 50,000 cubic metres of material out of the rock. A total of 17 intersections were needed in order to link the cave passages which are around five metres wide and six metres high. This gave rise to six parallel corridors, each being 190 metres long, connected by a 140-metre long access gallery. The excavation work was completed without incident.

Costs under control
From summer 2010, the cheese-ageing cave will offer storage capacity for up to 50,000 wheels of cheese. This extra capacity will cover the continuing rise in demand on the one hand whilst enabling new KALTBACH creations to be brought to market more rapidly on the other. Demand for KALTBACH Le Gruyère AOC and Emmentaler AOC as well as the other cave-aged specialities such as Raclette, is growing unabated: In 2008 a total of 2,250 tonnes were marketed (Switzerland: 42%, Export: 58%). Emmi is also solidly on course in Kaltbach with respect to the budget: The investment in the expansion totals around CHF 15 million.

Opening ceremony planned
The first wheels of cheese will be stored from next summer onwards. Experts will bring the natural sandstone caves into line with state-of-the-art technology in readiness for this development. Emmi's objectives are to successfully commence operations on time and produce cheese of the customary high quality from the outset. The opening celebrations for the cave and new outer buildings are scheduled for autumn 2010.

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