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Silicor officials evasive on plans for facility


Jeff Clark



In a "thanks but no thanks" statement released by Silicor Materials on Monday, CEO Terry Jester said the company plans to build a silicon metals production plant and silicon purification plant elsewhere in the state. 


"We are committed to building our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Mississippi, and we look forward to increasing economic opportunity in the state," Jester said in the statement. "After carefully evaluating a variety of factors, we determined that a location other than Lowndes County will allow us to maximize our company's mission. We deeply appreciate the interest Lowndes County showed in our company and our project." 


However, in an article published Jan. 7 in the Stanly News And Press, staff writer Brian Graves indicates Silicor Materials Executive Chairman John Correnti and company may be looking to locate in Stanly County, N.C. 


In the article, Correnti is quoted as saying he may be in talks to bring Clean Tech and Silicor back to N.C., now that newly-elected Gov. Pat McCrory has been sworn in. 


The Silicor project was originally headed to Ontario, Ohio, but company officials pulled the plug on the project to bring it to Mississippi. Stanly County Board of Commissioners Chairman Gene McIntyre said Silicor officials were in negotiations to bring the project to Stanly County even after the $75.5 million incentive package had been issued for Lowndes County. 


Silicor's press release on its commitment to the state comes one week after Mississippi Silicon officials and Silicor Materials representatives missed a Dec. 31 deadline imposed by the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors to place a refundable $150,000 in escrow to hold the Lowndes County site. The escrow requirement was suggested to the supervisors by Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins. The ultimatum was made Dec. 3. 


Silicor, then Calisolar, was approved $75.5 million in incentives during a special session of the state legislature Sept. 1, 2011. It also had $19 million on the table from Lowndes County. A spokesperson for the MDA said no funds had been issued to Silicor but the same incentive package from the state would be available should they find another site in Mississippi and be properly funded. 


Jester said Silicor is continuing to work closely with Mississippi Development Authority to "find the best site for the facility." 


In a statement, MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen said the agency will continue to work. 


"MDA will continue to work with Mississippi Silicon and Silicor Materials (the silicon metal production and silicon purification companies formerly known as Calisolar) to secure a location for them in our state," Christensen said.  


Sen. Terry Brown, R-Columbus, also vowed to continue to support Silicor in its quest to locate in Mississippi. 


"Silicor Materials, its executive chairman, John Correnti, and many others, have been working tirelessly to create jobs here in Mississippi," Brown said. "These projects take time, especially in these challenging economic times. Mr. Correnti has been a champion of jobs and economic development in Mississippi, having led the successful effort to bring hundreds of high-paying jobs to our state, and we fully support him and his colleagues in doing it again."




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