Ucore North America, a subsidiary of Ucore Rare Metals Inc., will invest $75 million to establish North America’s first modern technology rare earth element separation and purification facility in Rapides Parish, LA. Located at England Airpark in Alexandria, the Louisiana Strategic Metals Complex will establish a U.S.-based supply chain of rare earth oxides required to manufacture electric vehicle (EV) motors, wind turbine generators and a variety of consumer goods including smart phones and power tools.
Ucore expects to create 100 new jobs with an average annual salary of more than $50,000 at the facility. Upgrades to the 80,800-square-foot complex are slated to begin this year with operations estimated to start in early 2025. The company anticipates it will be able to process 7,500 metric tons per year of total rare earth oxides at the site by 2027.
“It is critical that the United States leads in establishing the critical metals supply chain essential to a changing manufacturing landscape across North America,” said Ucore Chairman and CEO Patrick Ryan. “The establishment of the Louisiana SMC in Alexandria represents one of these first building blocks and a significant contributor to the shift toward energy production and consumption diversification.”
Ucore plans to import thousands of metric tons of high-purity rare earth feedstocks from around the world to its Louisiana Strategic Metals Complex through the Port of New Orleans. The facility will then deploy Ucore’s critical metals separation technology to produce the materials for industrial rare earth permanent magnets used in EV motors and to generate electricity from wind turbines.
“This major manufacturing project in central Louisiana is another illustration of how the shift toward cleaner energy is creating jobs and increasing investment all across our state,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “The products manufactured at Ucore will reinforce Louisiana’s importance to the global supply chain as we look to further diversify and expand our economy.”
In addition to 100 direct jobs, Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates Ucore’s project will result in 298 additional new indirect jobs, for a total of 398 new jobs in the Central Region. To secure the project in Alexandria, Louisiana offered Ucore an incentives package including LED FastStart workforce development solutions and a $900,000 performance-based grant for infrastructure expenditures. The company plans to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs, as well as utilize the Research and Development tax credit.
“We are very proud to welcome Ucore to Alexandria,” said Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy. “This exciting and new technology-based chemical company could have located anywhere, so we are excited that we were picked for their first U.S. location and look forward to what that means for our region. In addition to the creation of 100 new jobs, we are increasing our part of the energy diversification supply chain, and we are betting that other companies in the sector will follow them here.”
“The England Authority is excited to be selected as the site for UCORE to establish its North American rare earth metal processing facility,” said England Airpark Executive Director Ralph Hennessy. “The capital investment and jobs created will help enable central Louisiana to cluster necessary companies to continue with the development of major components necessary for the growth of the electric vehicle industry.”
United Utility Services Establishes HQ In New Orleans
United Utility Services, a portfolio company of Baton Rouge-based Bernhard Capital Partners (BCP), will establish its national headquarters in New Orleans. The utility services provider aims to build upon the growing impact BCP and its companies, including Lemoine and Epic Piping, have had on the state’s economy and infrastructure.
United Utility is expected to create 141 jobs over the next five years with an average annual salary of more than $95,000, adding to the more than 6,000 Louisiana jobs BCP and its portfolio companies currently support.
“As our company expands, the need arose to establish our headquarters in a location that is easily accessible from existing regional offices and is in close proximity to complementary services and partners,” said United Utility CEO Ali Azad. “New Orleans is an ideal location for our company to build a prominent presence within a regional economy that leads innovation in the utility and energy sector, and within an area that is already home to key partners, such as Entergy.”
Louisiana offered United Utility an incentives package including LED FastStart workforce development solutions and a $500,000 performance-based grant for reimbursement of relocation expenditures, contingent upon the company meeting employment and payroll targets. The company is also expected to participate in the state’s Quality Jobs program.
“The United Utility headquarters not only brings 141 new jobs to our region, but it also further positions greater New Orleans and Louisiana as a leader in the future energy sector,” said GNO, Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht. “This is a major economic win for our area that will drive innovation and energy diversification across the state and country. We’re thrilled to welcome United Utility and to be part of its growth going forward.”