Rubber plant accepting applications

Published 12:19 am Monday, May 12, 2008

VIDALIA — With construction of the factory completed, officials at Louisiana Elastomer — the new Vidalia rubber plant, also known as LAEL — have started accepting applications.

The factory’s building has been completed, and the company is in the process of installing equipment, LAEL Chief Executive Officer D. Michael Wells said.

Some work was delayed a little bit by the raised water table caused by the now-receding Mississippi River flooding earlier this spring.

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“We’re waiting on an access road to be built,” Wells said. “There’s not seepage water out at the site, but they’re waiting for the water table to drop so they don’t dig down and put the road bed in and have some problems later.”

The company has filled some management positions, and has received a few applications for factory workers, but as of yet is not hiring line workers, Wells said.

When the factory opens, the company will hire approximately 60 workers, and depending on demand for their product, will expand within the next two years.

“We have a total of 150 employees in our five-year plan,” Wells said.

All of the applications for jobs at LAEL are being processed through the Louisiana Department of Labor — also known as Louisiana Works — site in Ferriday.

At the plant, the different elements of used tires will be separated before they are ground for recycling.

The process the factory will use will bond a thin skin to the recycled rubber so the used rubber can be blended at higher concentrations to new rubber products than traditional rubber recycling allows.