Breaking ground in Burnsville on Monday morning for a $200 million silicon metal plant that will employ 200 shows how assets and challenges can be melded to develop strong advantage in rural communities seeking jobs and companies looking for a good location.
Mississippi Silicon found in Burnsville, a Tishomingo County town west of Iuka on U.S. Highway 72, the infrastructure assets it needed (Yellow Creek Port, abundant electricity from TVA, 94 acres of good land, a four-lane highway, workforce prospects and assured capital) to combine with incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority and Tishomingo County to make the silicon metal processing plant a go for construction and investment.
Officials involved with the project said its jobs will average about $55,000 in salary and benefits per worker.
Earth-moving equipment was doing site preparation while the groundbreaking ceremony was celebrated.
Mississippi Silicon board chairman John Correnti credited Mississippi Senate President Pro Tem Terry Brown for encouraging him to keep Mississippi in mind after an earlier deal in Lowndes County didn’t materialize. He said Brown took him to see Tishomingo County officials, and then the project quickly got back on track. In November, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued permits for it.
The new Mississippi-based facility will produce silicon metal for a broad range of industries in the United States including the aluminum, automotive and chemical sectors. It is the first “greenfield” silicon plant in the western hemisphere in about 40 years.
Mississippi Silicon is a strategic partnership between Rima Holdings USA Inc. and domestic investor group Clean Tech I, LLC. Rima is owned by the Vicintin family, who also own Rima Industrial S/A in Brazil, which employs more than 4,000 in diecasting, magnesium, silicon metal and ferroalloys.
In support of the project, the Mississippi Development Authority committed $21.15 million in major assistance through the Mississippi Industry Incentive Financing Fund for construction and workforce training needs, as well as New Market Tax Credits. Tishomingo County and Tennessee Valley Authority provided assistance for the project as well.
Tishomingo County, which had 8.9 percent unemployment in November, had sought a reliable investor.
Strong prospects like Mississippi Silicon don’t roll into view every day, but a statewide network and teamwork overcame initial adversity to assure the premium jobs for our state in a region where such jobs are constantly sought and highly valued.