LUCEDALE, Mississippi — George County is delving deeper into wood pellet business, as leaders close the deal today on a $115 million plant — its second facility announced in three months — that will go in to the industrial park.
In March, Gulf Coast Renewable Energy announced plans for a $40 million pellet plant that will create 40 new jobs and produce about 320,000 metric tons of pellets per year.
Port of Pascagoula leaders this morning approved a document outlining plans for a second separate pellet mill capable of producing 500,000 tons of pellets per year.
The wood pellets will be shipped overseas from Pascagoula to European utilities, which use the pellets to reduce their carbon emissions.
More details are expected to be released this afternoon at a George County Board of Supervisors meeting in Lucedale, and the facility is expected to be operational by early 2015.
According to the port agreement, the wood pellet plant will create 141 new full-time jobs, 75 of which will average $15.70 per hour. At least 10 positions will offer annual salaries of up to $80,000.
Up to 300 construction jobs will be created, the document said, and the company expects that “a project of this size will indirectly result in the creation of several hundred other permanent ancillary jobs in forest lands in the county and surrounding counties from which forest products will be harvested.”
The Port of Pascagoula is already preparing a Bayou Casotte berth for a specialized wood pellet exporting facility to accommodate George County’s newest addition.
The export facility — with silos, an unloading facility for trucks and rail cars and a conveyor delivery system to the wharf — is expected to cost about $25 million.
About $10 million of that will come from state funds earmarked in Senate Bill 2913, and the rest will come from port funds.
“It’s going to be a good thing for us, and we’ve viewed it for quite some time as a growth opportunity,” Port Director Mark McAndrews said. “The facility we’re going to construct will have the ability to be expanded as we prepare to handle their product and other wood pellet manufacturers located here in Mississippi.”
The port expects to have its terminal use agreement negotiated and finalized with the company by yearend, McAndrews said.
The agreement adopted this morning is between the port, the company, the Mississippi Development Authority, George County and the George County Economic Development District.
It outlines plans for the company to enter a seven-year lease-purchase agreement with George County for the $1.2 million site.
The county must provide road access to the site, a potable and process water supply, a natural gas supply and a wastewater system, as well as help the company pursue loans and grants.
To help handle traffic, the agreement said George County will also expand Evanston Road to three or four lanes between G.M. Luce Road and Miss. 198 and work with the Mississippi Department of Transportation to upgrade the Cook’s Corner-Miss. 613 intersection.
MDA will offer income tax credits, rebates and abatements and provide a $4 million Industry Inventive Finance Revolving Fund grant to help fund site infrastructure work, the document said.
this Article Sources and Citations is from http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2013/06/george_county_lands_115_millio.html
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