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Adams County Supervisors extend option to Kior

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to extend an option contract on the former Belwood Country Club property to alternative fuel manufacturer KiOR.

KiOR previously had a contract signed on a 120 acre-tract of the county-owned Belwood property, but that option has since expired.

Supervisors Attorney Scott Slover said the option will still be subject to review by KiOR’s legal and leadership teams before it is finalized.

Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ said some details about the agreement could not be disclosed, but said the county is not holding the property for the company without a cash commitment.

The option was discussed in a closed-door, executive session at the supervisors’ Monday meeting.

The company has reportedly spent approximately $10 million on the Belwood property since announcing in mid-2012 its intention to build a cellulostic fuel facility there.

The announced plans call for a facility that is larger than its current commercial-scale facility in Columbus — which is a converted lumber mill — and is projected to create 320 direct and indirect jobs.

The Adams County groundbreaking was originally planned for late 2013, but was pushed back as the company continued to refine its processes.

In September, KiOR announced it would, for logistical and infrastructure-sharing reasons, build a second plant in Columbus before commencing work in Natchez, though company officials said the Natchez plant is still in the company’s long-term plans.

In January, KiOR temporarily suspended operations in Columbus. Company officials said at the time the measure was taken in order to optimize the processes at the facility for maximum operations.