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Good things are worth waiting for

We live in an “I want it and I want it right now!” world.

But we can’t always get what we want when we want it.

Such is the case with industrial and economic development. No one knows more than those involved in that pursuit that recruiting and constructing new industry and economic opportunities take time.

It’s a good thing for all of us that Natchez Inc. and Natchez NOW, made up of a group of local business leaders and individuals who are committed to improving the Miss-Lou economy, have been at work doing just that for some time now.

Their good work is now paying dividends for all of us.

Natchez Inc. and Natchez Now showed off the many economic development activities happening here with a tour of Miss-Lou industries on Monday evening.

About 40 business leaders and community members boarded a bus and toured industries located at the Natchez/Adams Port and the old International Paper Company site.

It was an impressive event, and it was perfectly timed for me, someone new to this community and unaware of ongoing economic development efforts here.

What was most impressive is the innovative technology being developed and put to work in the Miss-Lou.

Take Delta Energy, located on the former International Paper Co. property, for example. One of the world’s greatest environment problems is what to do with the millions upon millions of waste tires produced annually. The United States alone is responsible for 290 million waste tires in a year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Enter Delta Energy. That company has developed advanced, proprietary technology that takes old tires, which have been shredded to pieces about a quarter-inch in size, and creates solid, liquid and compressed gas products, all with little or no emissions.

The science and technology at work at Delta Energy is a game-changer, and it’s all happening right here in Natchez.

A little more than a year ago, Syrah Resources, an Australian company, chose Vidalia, Louisiana, as the place it wanted to spend $25 million to build a plant to purify and produce spherical graphite, which will be used in the lithium battery industry, used mostly in the automobile industry.

Syrah mines graphite in Mozambique, which is shipped to Vidalia in flake form. After undergoing the manufacturing process at its Vidalia facility, the graphite will be 99.95% pure. Right now, that product is only available from China.

Perhaps the fastest-growing company in the area is Great River Industries, which fabricates storage tanks and pipes, among other products. Great River right now is able to create the largest shop-fabricated, double-wall, vacuum-insulated tanks built in the country, allowing natural gas to be stored in its liquefied state.

These are just a few of the 20 or so projects featured on Monday’s tour. Work on many of them began a decade or more ago and are just beginning to bear fruit.

Like trying to turn a barge in the river, economic development doesn’t happen quickly. The work invested by those involved with Natchez NOW and Natchez Inc. for many years is paying off. Good things are happening here.

Jan Griffey is general manager of The Natchez Democrat. You may reach her at 601-445-3627 or jan.griffey@natchezdemocrat.com.

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