Biofuels company announces 300 jobs

Published 12:06am Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NATCHEZ — Biofuels company KiOR announced Monday that it would locate its second Mississippi production facility in Natchez, a move that will create 300 jobs.

The facility will be built on a 120-acre tract of land comprised of the former Belwood Country Club. The company had originally announced the facility would be located in Newton.

The announcement was made during the company’s fourth-quarter investors’ conference call. CEO Fred Cannon said logistical, infrastructure and tax incentives made Natchez the logical choice to locate their facility.

“(With the) dock facilities in Natchez, you have access to marine transportation, which greatly reduces cost of transportation,” Cannon said. “If you get a barge, you can deliver a product virtually anywhere.”

The Natchez location has, “much better utilities such as natural gas, high voltage power already there at the site, so (there are) a lot of infrastructure savings for us,” Cannon said.

KiOR uses a biofuel production process that uses non-food stock, including wood chips. Cannon said Natchez’s proximity to wood production areas also played a role in the decision to locate there.

As part of the industrial recruitment process, the Adams County Board of Supervisors agreed to build a levee system on the Belwood site. KiOR, in return, is required to invest a minimum of $200 million in its Adams County operation.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said the company has an option to buy or lease the Belwood property and that Monday KiOR indicated it would be exercising its option on the land.

“I believe they will purchase,” Russ said. “For an investment that size, we will have a substantial incentive package.”

Cannon said the groundbreaking for the Natchez site should happen sometime after the company’s Columbus facility goes online, something he said should happen in the second half of the year.

Even though the company has decided to locate its second Mississippi facility in Natchez, KiOR is still inclined to locate in Newton if possible, Cannon said.

Russ characterized the announcement as “a big day for southwest Mississippi and the Miss-Lou area.”

“This substantial investment accomplishes two goals in our area — KiOR will be a direct addition to our growing fuels and chemical sectors and will use our area’s abundant wood basket resources, creating welcomed indirect jobs throughout the forestry industry,” Russ said.

“Needless to say, we are proud of KiOR’s decision to locate a major production facility in Adams County and look forward to seeing the company be highly successful here.”

Natchez Inc. Chairwoman Sue Stedman said the economic development board is excited to see the company commit to the area.

“We are also delighted that the company is locating on the Belwood site that will further utilize available land and infrastructure at the Natchez Port,” Stedman said.

“This operation also will also have a large indirect jobs impact by providing opportunities for our forest products industry.”

Cannon said the company was in discussions with the State of Mississippi for financing for its Natchez project, but he did not believe that would be the primary financing of the project.

KiOR announced in 2010 it would build five biofuel production facilities in Mississippi. The initial announcement stated that the first three facilities would be in Columbus, Newton and southwest Mississippi. Though KiOR had previously expressed some interest in a site near Bude, Russ said it was his understanding that the company had never fully committed to that site.

The company has a demonstration facility in Houston that is currently producing some fuel.

  • Anonymous

    Poor company, they obviously have no clue just what failure they have set themselves up for. BOA fighting amongst each other, school district going to pot, not to mention the uneducated masses that reside in the Miss-Lou area. Seriously, who are they going to hire to work there? The same people that “worked” at IP? Or how about those that “worked”, or should I really say, were on strike at the tire plant? I won’t even go into the whole racial divide that is still evident in Natchez, either. How many engineers are going to be willing to live in this area? NONE! Port Gibson, Fayette, Natchez, Vidalia, and Ferriday all have the same problem. It’s not going away, it’s not going to get better. Why? Too many people want their “friends” to have a nice fat paycheck doing jack. Good luck biofuel company, because I will be watching to see how long it takes before you change your mind, then take your business elsewhere!

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Sounds great and I just hope it all happens !!! How many folks will be hired and the scale salaries and benefits??!! What was the local incentives that was mentioned?!! Looks like Natchez will the bio-fuels of the nation if this keeps up?!! I hope that they are environmently safe company !!! Where exactly is this 120 acres located?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, why do you even get out of the bed in the morning? If you live here in the miss-Lou please leave, if you don’t, shut your hole. We don’t need your negativity.

  • Anonymous

    Most of the old IP workers have either left Natchez or found other jobs and for your information we did WORK at IP.  I hope something good does come of this new industry and not just another land give a way

  • Anonymous

    I can understand your frustration. We’ve (Natchez) had our share our problems, but nothing that can’t be fixed. If you think so little of our wonderful city, please pack your bags and leave. Your negative statements are shared far and wide. Are you aware that people from all over the place read the Natchez Democrat on line? So, you’re one of the people hurting us. Either you are part of the problem, or part of the solution; which will it be. What have you done to improve our city? Or, are you just sitting on your butt complaining waiting for someone to give you a handout. Now I hope you go back to bed, pull the covers over your head and thank God that you live in our beautiful city!

  • Anonymous

    sounds good but too good to be true,i bet you the TAX issue will scare them off before they even make ground-breaking

  • Anonymous

    Me too. 300 as stated in the article, not stated yet.  Build a levee around the site.  Yep, a good start.  Me too.  Old Belwood Country Club as stated in the article.

  • Anonymous

    Take a lesson from the Rentech land sale and keep a buyback (better still, a giveback) provision in the sale in case this venture does not succeed.

  • Anonymous

     I’ve never sat on my butt and waited on hand-outs from anyone in my entire life, and God willing, I never will. I’m neither part of the problem, or the solution. Everyone else on here, including you, has the chance to speak what’s on their minds, so I will to. Don’t like it? Don’t read what I write. The truth is the truth, and if you accept and embrace it, it will set you free.

  • Anonymous

     ”iaintevenmad” huh? I get out of bed because I have a job to do. What about you? My “negativity”, as you so named it, is my right. Don’t like it? Read my post above, and stop reading what I write. I’m allowed an opinion, and the right to express it, just as much as you are. Take care now, and why don’t you find a job while you’re at it…?

  • Anonymous

    I was about to ask the questions of where can one go to complete an application for possibly being hired on with this company, when the hirings would commence and what types of positions will be offered along with possible salary info, but clearly after reading the whole article, I may be jumping the gun.  The title of the article says one thing, but when you read between the lines and the proverbial fine print, it still may not locate to Natchez at all. 

    “Even though the company has decided to locate its second Mississippi facility in Natchez, KiOR is still inclined to locate in Newton if possible, Cannon said.”

    Are there going to be possibly two plant locations or will KiOR definitely locate to Natchez only? 

  • Anonymous

    Sound like another Solyndra in the making.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Who’s going to pay for the levee being built an I saw BOS in article?? How are they going to get the money they’re broke??!!! This has been talked about for years and here we are again!! I don’t think so, if they purchase the land let them build the levee!! I hope this works this time for we sure don’t need another Rentech deal and plenty need jobs so I hope this isn’t a teaser??!!

  • Anonymous

    My fingers are crossed!

  • Anonymous

    they say experience is the best teacher, i agree.  i’m sorry, for the natchez natives, that it has to be implemented at your expense and your suffering the aftermath.  the ramifications of these type incentive-based transactions can have a detrimental impact on the lives of many for the profit of a few.  we, as a nation, are being led like sheep to  a slaughter.

  • Anonymous

    We have great news for our town and all I read is negative nonsense.  Just thank the Board President, Mayor and our Natchez Inc. Director for all their hard work and be happy for a change.  Our local leaders scored HUGE with this.  We are moving forward!!!  We’ve had tons of economic development announcements over the last few years and it’s not over.  Say what you want about our local leaders but we’ve had more good news over the last two or three years than the last 12 years combined.  SWEET!

  • Anonymous

    “We have great news for our town and all I read is negative nonsense.”

    A significantly over-valued startup that has yet to make a penny in a very questionable industry says they might come to town.  The “negative nonsense” you read are very valid concerns.  Lets just say the negative commenters here are treating this company nicer than investor websites do.

    “We’ve had tons of economic development announcements over the last few years and it’s not over.”

    Announcements don’t pay the bills.  Call me when this company has actually made a dime.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    Oldsouthgent , I can’t ever write a reply on this system but I wrote my comment last nite that did’t have the added information this a/m!! I sure hope this isn’t another disappointment to the locals for everyone are gun sye??!! If any of these jobs ever happened I’m still wanting to know how much expense has it been to the taxpayers for 1 job each??!!

  • Anonymous

    Of course you’re part of the problem…you’re complaining.  And I do suspect you’re on assistance. It really sounds as if you’re jealous that some people may be in line for a better job than you.

  • Anonymous

    The article plainly states the location: the old Bellwood Country Club property.

  • Anonymous

    My dad always told me what opinions are like… @##$%*&@ everbody has one and they all stink!! With that being said..yes I think the negative comments should be ignored, and just do not comment or read them, then we should pray very hard that God will bless Natchez with good paying jobs that have benefits. My poor dad worked 25 years for Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co. retired from there and worked 10 or 15 yrs. for Titan. Yes he walked the pickett line in order to make a better living for his family, as well as those that would work there after him. My husband worked for JM 30yrs. when they shut down and we were forced to move, it was devastating to have to leave family,( children, granchildren, sisters, brothers, mother, etc…as well as friends) and home that was built with the help of the above people and paid for. With that said I will pray that God will bless us with industry and jobs, and hopefully all the other things will improve.

  • Anonymous

    Who is crying “WOLF”…KiOR or Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ or Natchez Inc. Chairwoman Sue Stedman or ALL OF THE ABOVE? And who is reviewing the terms of the sale/lease?

  • Anonymous

    You keep praying. Meanwhile, some of us will continue to follow this industry and this company and report what we find here. Maybe you should ask your god not to make actual facts so “negative”.

  • Anonymous

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    How will Natchez ever change with people living here with your attitude??? Come on! Some times you have to crawl out of a hole to see the sunlight. We have been down long enough, and we don’t need publicity like yours to basically shoot us in the foot.  Natchez has a lot of +’s going for it. We might attract new blood, and things might improve if we all band together… The losers will always be around, we can’t run them off, and this day and time, they are everywhere..  Many would appreciate our beautiful little town, no traffic jams, friendly people, low stress life style compared larger cities… We have our draw backs, but for a town our size, we have a lot to offer…. Please be a good ambassador for Natchez and build it up, instead of tearing it apart…

  • Anonymous

    congrats to Chandler Russ and others involved in this. We appreciate what you are trying to do for Natchez and Adams County.  I understand this was the plant that was orginally going to locate in Franklin County.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s hope that they actually open and put people to work! We could certainly use the jobs in our area.

  • Anonymous

    If you don’t know the meaning of this term, please do go look it up. It’s called “past precedent”. Also, FYI…I’m not on public assistance of ANY kind because I’m a RN. Any idea how much a RN makes? I wouldn’t qualify for it, even if I had any desire to apply for it. As I have previously stated, if you don’t like my opinions, don’t read them or comment on them. Thanks, I was feeling kind of tired after a long day, but you’ve made me laugh!

  • Anonymous

    All that money you make as an RN, it sure hasn’t bought you any happiness. 

  • Anonymous

    Another Rentech scam,just like the last one. If it,s not a giveaway or goverment handout,freebies,whoever gets the monies on these slick dealings takes the loot and runs.It,s all tax dodging,writeoffs,handouts and BS just like always. Another who shot John espisode for the ones whose hands get padded.

  • Anonymous

    I am a former Natchez IP WORKER, and still work for IP which made me have to move away. Makes me glad to see those who are involved keep trying to move the Miss-Lou forward by bringing industry to the area. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I say. Never can tell… it might fly like a big bird. Kudos to Mr. Russ and the people who made this happen. Best wishes to the venture… and those who will be employed there. Change can only happen if people TRY to make changes. The problems won’t go away by themselves. Good luck with this one Miss-Lou…

  • Anonymous

    Pop always told me, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.” So I will believe it when I see it. I think they are trying to sell wolf tickets.

  • Anonymous

    “IF” a levee is required (and all Natchez residents who have lived here for any length of time that it would), then a drainage system WITH drainage pumps would be required. Who furnishes, operates, maintains, etc, these drainage pumps? Who will be held responsible/liable when these drainage pumps fail? How many pumps? A single pump? A duplex pump station? A triplex pump station? How many spares should be incorporated into the design? At what elevation should the levee be built? Who is responsible for maintenance, mowing, rebuilding the levee? Who will be responsible for the liability if the levee fails? Too many questions…

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    If they buy the land it will be up to them to build and maintane!!!

    In a message dated 3/28/2012 6:30:02 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    NatchezMS1978 wrote, in response to khakirat:
    “IF” a levee is required (and all Natchez residents who have lived here for any length of time that it would), then a drainage system WITH drainage pumps would be required. Who furnishes, operates, maintains, etc, these drainage pumps? Who will be held responsible/liable when these drainage pumps fail? How many pumps? A single pump? A duplex pump station? A triplex pump station? How many spares should be incorporated into the design? At what elevation should the levee be built? Who is responsible for maintenance, mowing, rebuilding the levee? Who will be responsible for the liability if the levee fails? Too many questions…

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/68b6th?imp=39e38a3e-75e4-48d3-a102-b39160f22513&thread=625141068&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)

  • Anonymous

    But are you sure about that? The taxpayers keep getting blindsided by inept politicians wearing rose colored glasses and their hands under the table. I smell another proposed tax hike coming….to cover “unforeseen” costs for brash ignorance.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    No, I’m not sure but it would not surprise me whatever they might do for they love writing checks(taxpayers money)!!! I don’t know the issues or contract and the BOS probably don’t know either??!!

    In a message dated 3/28/2012 7:57:26 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:

    (http://disqus.com/)

    NatchezMS1978 wrote, in response to khakirat:
    But are you sure about that? The taxpayers keep getting blindsided by inept politicians wearing rose colored glasses and their hands under the table. I smell another proposed tax hike coming….to cover “unforeseen” costs for brash ignorance.

    _Link to comment_ (http://disq.us/68cfhc?imp=c4e86b27-1a71-489b-861b-a4a3fb34f67a&thread=625141068&zone=email_notification&event=shortener_click)