Noranda Bauxite & Alumina will invest $35 million to expand and upgrade its alumina refinery in St. James Parish. The company also plans to establish its company headquarters at the Gramercy complex.
The project will create 65 new direct jobs, including 15 corporate headquarters jobs. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the project will result in 185 new indirect jobs, for a total of 250 new jobs for St. James Parish, the Southeast Region and surrounding areas. In addition, the project will retain 395 existing jobs at the refinery. The plant, built by Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp., has operated in St. James Parish since 1958. It is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, less than a mile downriver from the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The project will include the design and installation of equipment to increase the production, storage and shipping capabilities of chemical-grade alumina. Known as CGA, the product is used in many industrial applications, including water treatment, flame retardants, catalysts for oil, gas and petrochemical refining, building materials and insulation.
“These capital improvements represent the largest capital expenditure at Gramercy in more than a decade,” said Noranda Bauxite & Alumina CEO David D’Addario. “The projects will not only expand the production capacity for our valued CGA customers and create new jobs for our community, they will help ensure the continuation of this business and its 400-plus jobs by enabling us to operate more efficiently and effectively and with even greater environmental responsibility. We are grateful to Louisiana Economic Development and Gov. Edwards for the confidence they have shown in the success of our business as demonstrated by LED’s significant financial support.”
LED began working with Noranda in May 2015 on business retention efforts at the alumina manufacturing site. To secure the project, LED offered the company an incentive package that includes the LED FastStart® workforce training program in the nation. LED also offered Noranda a performance-based, forgivable loan of $1 million under the state’s Economic Development Award Program for facility construction and equipment, and a Modernization Tax Credit of $200,000 a year for five years on capital investment for facility upgrades and equipment. The company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“This is a great opportunity to create new good-paying jobs and to secure hundreds of existing jobs at an industrial mainstay in our River Parishes,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “Noranda’s new ownership team is committed to the success of its business, and we are pleased to provide strategic assistance to their efforts to modernize and expand their operation in Gramercy.”
“To hear an announcement of a $35 million investment is good news to begin with, but to learn that this company wants to locate its corporate offices in St. James Parish brings it to another level,” said St. James Parish President Timothy “Timmy” Roussel. “We commend Noranda and their new ownership. In speaking with Noranda representatives, it is the belief that we can make a difference – for the better – in people’s lives, and my administration will continue to take advantage of every opportunity. I am happy for Noranda and for St. James Parish as well. This is a statement on their part that they want to continue to be a large part of our community, because St. James Parish is a great place to live, work, play and grow.”
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