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Suit to block silicon plant in northeast Miss. dismissed

Jack Weatherly

Mississippi Silicon LLC has some breathing room as a suit seeking to stop the construction of the plant at Burnsville in Tishomingo County was dismissed.

U.S. District Court Judge Debra M. Brown ruled on Thursday that the Northern Mississippi court did not have jurisdiction, and the motion by Globe Specialty Metallurgical, a Selma, Ala.,-based competitor, for a preliminary injunction was a moot point.

The plant is expected to employ 200 during the next few years after its opening, which is expected soon, John Lalley, vice president for finance for Mississippi Silicon, said in a news release.

The dismissal was “without prejudice,” meaning it could be refiled. Globe Specialty Metals, Inc., the challenger’s Miami-based parent, did not have an immediate response to the decision.

Brown’s “decision confirms that this lawsuit … was without merit,” Lalley said.

“This was one of a series of lawsuits advanced by Globe to disrupt our project and protect their monopoly as the only domestic merchant producer of silicon metal in the United States.”

An Alabama judge in September tossed Globe’s challenge to the air quality permit issued by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Mississippi Silicon is partnering with Rima Holdings USA, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Rima Industrial SA, a producer of one fourth of the world’s silicon.

Clean Tech 1 LLC, an investment group headed by John Correnti, owns 20 percent of the $200 million Burnsville plant. The Mississippi Development Authority provided $21 million in incentives.

Nucor Corp., which is one of the largest steel makers in the United States and has a plant in Decatur, Ala., intervened, contending that the proposed Burnsville plant in northeast Mississippi would adversely affect the air quality in the Alabama town, which is 75 miles away.

Correnti is former chairman of Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, whose two subsidiary plants in Mississippi County, Ark., sued to block construction of the $1.2 billion Big River Steel plant at Osceola, Ark., also in the county, by an investment group headed by Correnti.

The suit challenged the validity of the air permit for the plant that will employ more than 500 and pay about $75,000 a year. The suit was dismissed in U.S. District Court in February.

Correnti was head of another investment group that was a minority partner in the construction of the SeverCorr steel plant in Columbus, which was later sold to Severstal, a Russian company, and last year to Steel Dynamics.

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