By Jack Weatherly
There is plenty of evidence that a $1.2 billion aluminum mill will be built at Columbus.
But when the American Specialty Alloys clock on Internet hits zero today at about 7 p.m. don’t expect a big announcement.
It will be the launch of a website, www.asametals.com, but there will be no information on the location of 1.4 million-square-foot plant, said American Specialty founder Roger Boggs in an telephone interview this week, from Columbus.
“We never meant to bring on so much publicity about Friday. It’s a celebration of our team and our employees, who worked so hard developing our project. The countdown clock is for the launch of our website.”
‘There’s still a lot of due diligence work and process. It’s a very big project.”
American Specialty issued a detail release on Nov. 17, saying that it will build a plant in the Southeast that is expected to begin operations in late 2016 and eventually employ between 650 and 850. About 2,000 construction workers will be employed.
Boggs said that the site will also celebrate customers, though he did not specify whom.
The plant is expected produce 600 tons of flat-rolled “auto grade aluminum” per year.
One of its customers likely will be Ford Motor Co. The release referred to the reengineered version of its immensely popular F-150 pickup.
With an all-aluminum body, of course.
The 2015 F-150s were delayed till this month for the rollout of the new version.
From the get-go, there have been strong indications where the plant will be built.
» The startup company has applied with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for permission to prepare a site on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway at Columbus.
» Gov. Phil Bryant said in a remark to the Mississippi Business Journal that the plant is “a very exciting proposition,” though the Mississippi Development Authority had no comment.
» The release had a 662 area code and Columbus prefix.
Columbus plays a major part in Boggs’ resume.
He was director of technology and customer service for three years (2007-2010) at the Severstal steel plant at Columbus. The plant had been started as Severcorr, an 80/20 partnership between majority owner Severstal, a Russia-based corporation, and a group led by John Correnti.
Correnti later sought to build a silicon plant at Columbus, but the project was aborted after a falling out with local officials over the Correnti group’s failure to meet deadlines for putting $150,000 in an escrow account.
Correnti vowed he would build the $200 million plant in Mississippi, just not in Lowndes County.
Construction of Mississippi Silicon is under way but has been challenged in court. Correnti leads a group that is minority investor in the project.
Boggs, whose career begin in 1990, was director quality of the Thyssenkrupp Steel plant in Calvert, Ala. from December of 2010 and January of 2013.
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