MILLWOOD – Over 200 new permanent jobs in the long term, some 500 construction jobs and a capital investment of $240 million are on the way to Jackson County with a new Carbonyx, LLC carbon synthesis plant to be built on land adjacent to the Jackson County Maritime & Industrial Centre at Millwood.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the project at his office at the State Capitol in Charleston at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Jackson County Development Authority director Mark Whitley said the project has been in the works for over two years and will initially be constructed on 45 acres with the total development encompassing 100 acres purchased from Century Aluminum.
Founded in 2000, Carbonyx is a privately-held company with headquarters in Plano, Texas. Carbonyx produces a new substitute for a key steelmaking ingredient-carbon. The process used by Carbonyx is described as innovative and the firm is building several plants in addition to the one at Millwood including plants at Gary, IN, Ardmore, OK and in India. The Indiana plant is in conjunction with U.S. Steel Corporation.
Carbonyx has received all environmental permits from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and is deemed a minor source emitter.
Plans call for four carbon alloy synthesis modules at the industrial park over a five-year period. The modules will produce a product called Cokonyx, an economically viable and environmentally responsible carbon alloy material that would be a substitute for traditionally manufactured coke. The technology aims to reduce raw material costs and harmful emissions at steelmaking plants. The technology has global implications and is state-of-the-art and cutting edge in terms of the steelmaking process and will be when applied, truly a breakthrough technology for steelmaking.
"I call Carbonyx a visionary company because they have reinvented part of the centuries old steel making process," said Gov. Tomblin during the press conference.
Once the four modules are completed, the total capital investment will be $241,000,000. Constrcution will create about 500 temporary construction jobs and once completed Carbonyx will employ over 200. Pay will average around $60,000 annually with great benefits including health care (64% benefit rate).
"We project that within five to seven years, well over 200 jobs will be created," said Dr. Siddhartha Gaur, CEO of Carbonyx Inc.
The project will seek $2.1 million in state assistance which will include $1.2 million for an access road and rail spur and a $1 million upgrade for the Cottageville PSD. The operation will initially employ some 60 permanently and then expand its work force.
About 2,000,000 tons of carbon alloy product are expected to be produced by the Carbonyx modules at Millwood. And the by-product will be electricity which will be sold to Appalachian Power Company's grid system and allow Century Aluminum an opportunity for reduced sustainable power at a fixed cost. This could help address Century's electrical needs that could help enable them to restart operations in Jackson County.
Carbonyx at Millwood will be purchasing 1.75 million tons of metallurgical coal annually.