Syrah Resources has selected a Vidalia site as the preferred location for a new $25 million graphite processing facility, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Syrah Resources CEO Shaun Verner have announced. The project will result in 25 new direct jobs with an average salary of $60,000 plus benefits, as well as 30 new indirect jobs, according to Louisiana Economic Development.
The Concordia Parish plant is expected to begin operations in 2018, with hiring to commence in the coming months. The Australia-based company intends to purchase a 50,000-square-foot industrial building near Vidalia’s port.
“Syrah Resources is the latest international company to find that Louisiana is a great place for business investment,” Edwards said. “We have attracted over $42 billion in foreign direct investment since 2010, and these international investments are responsible for 73,400 jobs in Louisiana, including more than 20,000 in the manufacturing sector. This innovative project is a welcome addition to Louisiana’s manufacturing portfolio.”
The new facility will process natural flake graphite that will be mined by the company in Mozambique and shipped to Louisiana to be refined into high-purity spherical graphite for use in battery anodes, largely in the burgeoning electric automobile industry.
Valeo, a key automotive supplier, recently doubled its global forecast for electric vehicles, according to the Financial Times. The plant has the potential to be further expanded if Syrah develops additional phases.
“Syrah originally identified Louisiana as a preferred location, due to a strong manufacturing and experienced employment base, attractive utility and raw material supply opportunities, an extensive logistics network and, most importantly, a focus on development from government and community,” Verner said. “All of these elements have been clearly demonstrated in the interactions we have had in Vidalia, and we are very positive about the long-term benefit of locating here.”
Louisiana’s reputation for robust economic incentives and job training helped in securing the commitment from another foreign company. LED offered Syrah a package that includes LED FastStart®, the top-ranked state workforce training program in the U.S. The company is also expected to benefit from the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“The town of Vidalia welcomes Syrah Resources to our community,” Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said. “The town, and the state of Louisiana, have made significant investments into our industrial parks and port facility, and today we see the benefits of that investment through the creation of 25 new quality jobs with competitive wages. We look forward to developing a longstanding partnership with Syrah Resources in Vidalia.”
In 2016, Concordia Economic Development of Vidalia and Natchez Inc. of Natchez, Mississippi, agreed to formally pursue economic development projects together in the Miss-Lou Region that straddles the Mississippi River and connects the two communities and two states.
“This is great news for Vidalia and the eastern region of central Louisiana,” said President and CEO Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Concordia is demonstrating its competitive position at and near its port. On behalf of CLEDA, we thank all who have been involved in bringing this project home.”