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Silicor Project Update

Posted by R.H. Brown | August 06, 2012 / 03:41pm | Local News

(COLUMBUS, Ms)(WCBI) A year ago, the state Legislature and Lowndes County approved a massive incentive package for Silicor Metals to bring more than 900 jobs to Lowndes County.

But it came with some strings, including a deadline to be started by September 2nd this year.

The company might make it and that's leaving the state and Lowndes County walking a fine line between helping and hurting opportunity.

Call it a carrot and stick approach.

Lowndes County Supervisors have agreed to give Silicor until December 31st to start construction on this 90- acre plot of land near Golden Triangle Regional Airport.

"They ran into a snag. They've asked for an extension and what we took today, the supervisors, is a conditional extension that will run them through the end of the year," said Joe Max Higgins, Link CEO.

Silicor representatives did not attend Monday's meeting but will have to start giving the county monthly face-to-face updates starting September 25th.

Officials extended the incentives package to give the company a chance to succeed.

But they also put in some more strings because the county can't afford to keep county resources tied up while other companies pass the county by.

"On the same flip of the coin we have to understand that as it hangs out there, its going to at some point hurt us on future recruiting efforts cause we got resources tied up. We got resources committed that other companies, you know think that they don't want to compete against," said Higgins.

The project has two phases.

At stake, 971 jobs with an average salary of 45 thousand dollars yearly.

"Phase One is about $235 million, about 200 jobs, and the balance is in Phase Two,"added Higgins.

Silicon metals are to be made during Phase One, Phase Two involves silicon purification at the plant.

If successful, the silicon plant would be the first built in the United States in almost 40 years, making a product used in everything from makeup to solar panels.

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