By JACK WEATHERLY
Mississippi Silicon officials were joined by state and local officials Wednesday to celebrate the opening of the 170,000-square-foot, $200 million plant in Burnsville.
The Tishomingo County facility already employs 100 of its projected 200 employees.
It started producing silicon metal in September. The company is owned by Rima Holdings USA, a subsidiary of Brazil’s Rima Industrial SA, a producer of one-fourth of the world’s silicon metal products. Clean Tech LLC is a 20 percent stakeholder.
“Mississippi Silicon, with the latest technology and most environmentally friendly equipment available in the world, will be the premier silicon manufacturing facility in our industry,” Ricardo Vicintin, Mississippi Silicon chairman and Rima Industrial chief executive, said in a release.
The late John Correnti, a key player in the steel plant now operating in Lowndes County, headed up Clean Tech. He died in August at 68.
Correnti and other investors had intended to build the silicon plant in Lowndes County, but they parted ways with local economic development officials, vowing to build the plant elsewhere in the state.
He headed up a minority investment group in the creation of SeverCorr Steel at Columbus, which was later bought out by partner Severstal, a Russian company that last year sold the plant to Steel Dynamics.
Mississippi Silicon warded off legal challenges by Globe Specialty Metals of Selma, Ala., and built the plant.
Silicon is used as the base material for a variety of products, ranging from computer chips and solar cells to automobile manufacturing.
The Mississippi Development Authority provided a $15 million loan to the company for construction and a $3.5 million loan to Tishomingo County for infrastructure. MDA also gave $5.25 million to the company and $1 million for work-force training.
“I appreciate the team at Mississippi Silicon for choosing a Mississippi location and creating so many new jobs in the region,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in the release.
The plant, which is expected to turn out 36,000 metric tons a year, is located on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. The Tennessee Valley Authority is providing electricity.