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County to borrow $24M for wood pellet terminal at port

PASCAGOULA — Jackson County supervisors have voted to borrow $24 million for the Port of Pascagoula’s wood pellet exporting terminal.

The Mississippi Press reports that the board of supervisors acted yesterday after no one showed up for a public hearing.

The terminal will handle wood pellets from a plant that is supposed to be built in George County starting in late 2014. The terminal won’t be built until Florida-based Green Circle Bio Energy starts the $115-million plant. Green Circle use the site to export up to 500,000 tons of pellets per year to European utility companies, Port Director Mark McAndrews has said.

Wood pellets are rabbit-food sized pieces of wood used in Europe as a source of clean electricity.

McAndrews has said the exporting facility is expected to cost about $30 million, with $15 million coming from port bonds. The state has put up $10 million for the project, and the terminal operator will invest $5 million.

An additional $14 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation will also work in conjunction with the project for intermodal improvements.

The exporting facility will look similar to a grain elevator or bulk commodities facility, with silo storage facilities, an unloading facility for trucks and rail cars and a conveyor delivery system to the ship loader.

“It’s going to benefit not only the port but also the cities of Pascagoula and Moss Point and the general public,” Supervisor John McKay said.

The bonds must be issued within two years, McAndrews said.

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