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Delta Energy launches 91-job plant in Natchez

Paul Lee, Delta-Energy Group CEO, speaks during an announcement at the former location of International Paper about bringing his company’s operations to the site. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Paul Lee, Delta-Energy Group CEO, speaks during an announcement at the former location of International Paper about bringing his company’s operations to the site. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — A company that renders shredded rubber for carbon solids and hydrocarbon liquids for use in rubber compounds announced Tuesday it would locate a production facility on the former International Paper property.

Delta-Energy Group said the $45 million investment by its wholly owned subsidiary Delta-Energy Natchez would result in the creation of 91 new jobs.

A crowd listens to Lee during the announcement. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

A crowd listens to Lee during the announcement. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

The company’s investment includes the purchase of a warehouse and 30 acres of the 478-acre former IP property, which Adams County and economic development officials have been marketing as an industrial park since purchasing it in 2013. The company will pay $3.75 million for the land.

Delta-Energy Chief Executive Officer Paul Lee said the company would do all of its hiring through the WIN Job Center and looks to have production started during the third quarter of this year.

The raw material the company will use for its process will come from used tires, he said.

“We are doing something that is environmentally positive, and that is rewarding, but secondly I really get excited about doing something that creates jobs,” Lee said. “We are not moving jobs from somewhere else, we are creating new jobs in a new industry.”

The Adams County location will be Delta-Energy’s second factory. The company’s first plant was built in North Dakota on a Lee-family farm, Lee said.

“This is not a venture that is a pure startup,” he said. “We already have committed customers and a good portion of this plant is sold out.”

Lee said Adams County was not the first location the company considered for its plant, but a combination of rail and port availability and hard-hitting economic recruiting helped the company decide.

“We looked at several other locations, and you have got one of the strongest economic development teams and efforts, and that is part of the reason we chose Natchez,” he said.

Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen speaks at the event. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen speaks at the event. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said he was thankful for the company’s investment in Adams County. He likewise thanked his colleagues on the board for purchasing the property when it went up for sale in 2013.

“Today we see the benefit of that investment, and we thank the people of Natchez-Adams County for standing behind us for making the investment in this industrial park,” Grennell said.

At the announcement, members of the board of supervisors presented Lee with an Adams County flag. Natchez Mayor Butch Brown likewise presented the Delta CEO with a key to the city.

“The people who work here, they will spend (the money they earn) locally, so this will support the whole economy, not just trucking and rail here,” he said. “It all translates into money spent into our economy.”

Brown said having Delta-Energy come to Natchez is a way the community has adapted to changing economic realities.

“Economies change, worldwide standards change, and we change with that,” he said.

Natchez Inc. Chair Sue Stedman said she is excited to see the “special site” that was once IP come back to life.

“What does Delta-Energy mean for Adams County?” she said. “It means this 260,000-square foot building will be once again full and active.”

The Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in support of Adams County’s efforts to attract the project by funding to rebuild a rail spur serving the site.

“MDA is glad to have the resources in place to assist companies as they expand or locate in the state, and we are proud to welcome our newest business partner — Delta-Energy Group — to Southwest Mississippi,” said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen. “We thank our partners at Natchez, Inc. and Adams County for their efforts in bringing Delta Energy to our state.”

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he appreciated the team at Delta Energy for choosing to locate operations in Natchez.

“Companies locate and expand in Mississippi because we strive to provide a supportive business climate,” Bryant said. “I look forward to watching Delta Energy thrive in Adams County.”

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