UPDATE 9:30 p.m. -- The Town of Lake Providence is widely regarded as one of the poorest places in the country.
But on Tuesday, the $100 million Myriant Corporation Plant announced a milestone in Lake Providence job creation.
"53 permanent jobs here and 137 indirect jobs is what I was told," said Lake Providence Mayor, Robert Amacker.
The plant, announced by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2010 and made operational just this year, develops sugar and grain sorghum to make oil-based products, replacing the oil.
"One way of reducing oil consumption is making chemicals from other raw materials," said Myriant Corp. President Cenan Ozmeral.
The East Carroll Parish Schools Superintendent said the economic growth has spread to her employees' salary supplements.
"November 2011, the total amount was $1,500 and in May 2012, it was $2,500 and employees thought that we were doing OK," Superintendent Dr. Voleria Millikin said.
Now, Ozmeral said more jobs could be coming for the town in the future.
"We are analyzing the possibilities of building a bigger plant. It will increase the labor force," he said.
It's a spot of economic relief for a town in great need of it.
"Exactly the kind of jobs that people like myself in economic development seek to bring to the state because they really make a difference in your tax base and in the future for your children," said Donald Pierson, Senior Director of Business Development for Louisiana Economic Development.
Myriant leaders tell KTVE/KARD they'll bring proposed plans for the bigger building in the first half of 2015.
If they can get another plant in Lake Providence going, they said it will take two years to finish.
UPDATE: LED and Myriant Corporation highlighted the growth of Myriant’s flagship chemical plant in Lake Providence, a bio-succinic acid chemical plant that has reached higher thresholds for employment and capital investment than originally projected.
Gov. Jindal announced Louisiana’s attraction of the 392,000-square-foot plant in late 2010. Originally estimated at $80 million, the project has brought $100 million in capital investment to the East Carroll Parish site in Northeast Louisiana, with employment of 53, four more jobs than the original target. In addition to the direct jobs – which average $40,000 a year, plus benefits – LED estimates 137 new indirect jobs are resulting from the project, for a total of 190 new permanent jobs. Myriant estimated 500 construction jobs were created during the site’s development.
“As a longtime leader in agricultural production, chemical manufacturing and port logistics, Louisiana recognized the great value of this new clean technology investment and combined with the Lake Providence Port Commission to provide $10 million in port improvements to make this project happen,” Pierson said. “We’ve also supported Myriant with workforce development assistance, and this project has attracted construction spending and business purchases that have provided a significant boost to the economy in Lake Providence and East Carroll Parish. This project exemplifies what we try to do every day: Provide more and better jobs for the people of Louisiana and raise the economic prospects and the quality of life enjoyed by families throughout our state.”
Myriant began start-up operations at the plant in June and expects to achieve full commercial operations in a matter of months. The bio-succinic acid plant, which has an annual capacity of 30 million pounds per year, is the first of its kind and scale in North America. The Louisiana production represents the leading edge of a potential $7.5 billion global market opportunity, with bio-succinic acid greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions for a product that traditionally has been manufactured from petroleum. Succinic acid is an essential ingredient in many consumer and industrial goods, including plastics used in the production of toys and food packaging; urethanes; paints; and synthetic fibers, such as Spandex.
“Louisiana has a well-established history in the traditional and specialty chemicals manufacturing industry and Myriant is proud to be among the first bio-based chemicals plants in production in Louisiana,” Ozmeral said. “Louisiana’s robust agricultural industry paired with strategic ports that provide direct access to global markets is a unique combination making the state an ideal location for Myriant’s flagship biorefinery.”
Louisiana secured the Myriant project with a customized incentive package that included $9 million in DOTD Port Priority Program and state funding (matched by an additional $1 million in local funding) and the services of LED FastStart®, ranked as the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program. The company also is utilizing Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
The company has begun shipping the white crystalline solid product to customers around the world and is experiencing a sharp increase in orders. To meet the demand, Myriant is evaluating opportunities, including Louisiana sites, for a larger commercial-scale facility that would produce approximately five times the amount of product as the initial plant.
“The Myriant Corporation has had an enormous economic impact on the East Carroll Parish School District,” Superintendent Voleria Millikin said. “The school district employs approximately 185 people. Based on sales taxes collected for each fiscal school year, all employees receive a salary supplement paycheck in the months of November and May. In the past, yearly salary supplements have ranged from a low of $1,900 to a high of $2,500. But in November of 2012, with the advent of Myriant Corporation, the salary supplements soared. For the first time in the district’s history, each employee’s share of the sales taxes amounted to $2,200 in November 2012 and $3,400 in May 2013 – a total of $5,600. The salary supplements more than doubled the amount given in the previous school year.”
“First of all, they created the jobs and that's had a big impact on the community,” Lake Providence Mayor Bobby Amacker said. “But one thing we noticed right away was the sales tax increases, particularly during the construction period. The sales tax revenue for the town went up because of the construction crews and spending and the people working there. So it’s had a really good impact on the town: I’m glad they’re here.”
Lake Providence -- Louisiana Economic Development is expected to make an economic development announcement today in Lake Providence with Myriant Corporation.
What: An economic development announcement
Who: LED Senior Director of Business Development Don Pierson
When: Tuesday, May 27 at 3:15 p.m.
Where: Myriant Corporation
525 Port Road
Lake Providence LA 71254
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