Lowndes County Pulls Land Reservation For Aluminum Mill

COLUMBUS, MS (AP) — Mississippi's chances of being the location for a proposed $1.2 billion aluminum mill that would hire 650 or more workers to supply aluminum for auto bodies have taken a step back.

         The Commercial Dispatch’s Andrew Hazzard reports Lowndes County has pulled an offer of 826 acres near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport for the American Specialty Alloys project.

         American Specialty announced last November its plans for a 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.

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         Joe Max Higgins, the CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK, said the decision was made about two weeks ago after American Specialty CEO Roger Boggs didn't answer questions about the project.

         Higgins said keeping the land reserved for American Specialty meant they couldn't market it to anyone else.

         "Should Mr. Boggs find success in obtaining this requisite financing commitment for all the funding required to complete the project, we will be happy to re-address a consideration for the site, along with local incentives previously proposed," Higgins said. "But until that time, we have a responsibility to aggressively market the site to attract new jobs and investment to our community."

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         The company filed for environmental permits at a site near Golden Triangle Regional Airport, just west of Columbus in Lowndes County. The company incorporated in Mississippi in March and has listed a Columbus address.

         The company received a construction permit from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality in October.

         Boggs said other states might be in the running, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama. He said the company has permits "in process" in other states as part of its effort to select sites.

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         American Specialty chief marketing officer George Riel told the newspaper he could not comment on the site location.

         "We'll be making a public comment on the site in the next two to three weeks," Riel said. "The project is progressing nicely and is on track."

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