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American Specialty Alloys won't locate mill in Mississippi

Bamerican specialty alloys copyATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – A metals manufacturer will locate in central Louisiana a proposed $1.2 billion aluminum mill that would hire 650 or more workers to supply aluminum for automobile bodies.

American Specialty Alloys announced Friday in a news release that the site is a 1,200-acre mill complex formerly operated by International Paper in Rapides Parish near Pineville.

ASA officials say several states were considered for the plant, including Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama.

An offer for 826 acres in Lowndes County, Mississippi, was pulled after local officials said ASA CEO Roger Boggs wouldn’t answer questions about the project.

ASA said the 1.4 million square-foot plant that would make more than 600,000 tons of aluminum sheet and plate each year, with operations planned to start in late 2016.

“When the IP mill closed several years ago, we pledged that we would work on securing a project that would bring good jobs back to that location. We are excited that ASA has announced plans to invest in Central Louisiana and take advantage of Louisiana’s strong business climate and world-class workforce,” Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a statement.

The Louisiana Department of Economic Development offered ASA a performance-based grant of $34 million to offset site-related infrastructure costs, payable in installments upon the company meeting capital investment and payroll targets. State officials also approved ASA’s use of the LED FastStart job-training services.

In addition, the company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

The Quality Jobs program provides an eligible company a cash rebate of up to 6 percent of its annual payroll for as long as a decade. The Industrial Tax Exemption offers abatement of local property taxes for a decade on its new facilities.

In addition, the Red River Waterway Commission authorized creation of a new port to serve the mill.

“We spent considerable time and resources looking at potential candidates across the Southern states, a strategic area for our operations, suppliers and customers,” Boggs said in a statement.

“Our needs were specific, based on our project budget, requirements and constraints. We studied many factors essential to the project success, including property characteristics, community engagement, workforce readiness and the quality and support of local service providers. In Louisiana, we found a high level of coordination and cooperation among state agencies and with local site-service providers.”

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