CHARLESTON - Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Thursday plans to build a plant in Jackson County, investing millions of dollars in the site and initially creating at least 60 jobs.
Tomblin held a press conference at the state Capitol announcing the plans of Carbonyx Inc., a Texas-based company, to invest tens of millions of dollars in a new plant in Millwood.
The new plant will use state-of-the-art technology to produce a key ingredient for steelmaking and rely on coal as the main input for its manufacturing process, making it an important new customer for regional coal producers.
"We are excited and honored to welcome Carbonyx to West Virginia," Tomblin said. "Carbonyx is a tremendous innovator in the steelmaking business - and they've decided to invest right here in the Mountain State because of our top-notch workforce and winning business climate."
Mark Whitley, executive director of the Jackson County Development Authority, said local officials have been working with Carbonyx for more than three years to secure a location for the new plant.
"It's some wonderful news for Jackson County," Whitley said. "The company is going to invest quite a bit of money in our community and it is going to create some wonderful jobs."
Tomblin said the plant will not only benefit the community with good-paying jobs, but also the state as coal will be used to fuel the plant.
"This company could have chosen anywhere in the world to build this plant, and they chose Jackson County," Tomblin said. "This means an investment of tens of millions of dollars and at least 60 good-paying jobs, which is great news. The plant's impact will reach beyond Jackson County: Carbonyx will use West Virginia coal to produce a key ingredient for steelmaking, which is in demand from major steel companies. This announcement is a huge victory for our entire state."
"It's a natural fit to make West Virginia home to our Carbon Alloy facility due to its coal reserves, long standing tradition with the steel industry, a proactive government led by Governor Tomblin and, above all, the quality of its people. During our efforts we received unprecedented support from people of all walks of life," said Siddhartha Gaur, the CEO of Carbonyx Inc.
Carbonyx's patented, cutting-edge technology revolutionizes the way steel is made. For centuries, steelmakers have relied on coke, a high-carbon, hot-burning fuel source, to manufacture their product.
Carbonyx has developed a coke substitute called Cokonyx, a carbon alloy that offers both lower cost and less environmental impact than traditional coke.
Whitley said the facility will be built in four sections during the next 5-7 years. Each section that opens will employ about 60 people, so "by the time this is all said and done we are talking about 240 jobs."
Whitley said the Millwood location is a "green build site" without an existing facility and he expects construction to begin in early 2014.
"We are excited to have them as our newest corporate community member, and we are looking forward to working with them on this exciting project," Whitley said.
The company expects to initially hire at least 60 people, and hiring will begin soon after construction. Positions will include management, operators and maintenance personnel.
Prospective applicants should visit the company's website at www.carbonyx.com.
Tomblin and the West Virginia Development Office spent more than a year in talks with Carbonyx officials to land the new plant. The Jackson County Development Authority and the Jackson County Commission also played key roles in securing the Carbonyx investment.