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Plant yet to come out of ground; company maintains commitment

PONTOTOC — Four years after announcing plans for an ethanol plant in Pontotoc, a Canadian company has yet to begin construction.

Enerkem Inc., of Montreal, remains committed to building the for Enerkem Mississippi Biofuels plant, spokeswoman Annie Pare tells The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

It’s planned as a $100 million project with 70 employees, with a $150 million expansion to produce another 80 jobs.

So far, a lot has been cleared for a power substation but the 35-acre site for the plant itself is still all woods.

Enerkem bought the site in October for about $70,000, paying another $10,000 for the timber’s value.

Pare says the plant is being designed. She says construction is expected to begin in the second half of this year and should take about 18 months.

The site is next to the Three Rivers Landfill, which is to provide municipal solid waste as Enerkem’s main fuel.

First, Enerkem is building a similar plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Last year, it had planned to raise $125 million in a public offering to raise capital for its Pontotoc and Varennes projects. It withdrew the offering, citing market conditions, but said it would continue with those projects.

Spokeswoman Marie Helene-Labrie said at the time that Enerkem had raised more than $100 million the previous years through corporate and government financing.

Privately held, Enerkem declined to reveal what financing it now has in place — or still needs.

“As a private company, we are not in a position to discuss the details of these financial arrangements,” Pare said.

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