First Bauxite Corp. of Canada plans to invest $200 million to develop a proposed bauxite processing plant on the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish.
State and corporate officials said Thursday the project would create 100 direct jobs, ranging from entry-level to skilled trade and professional management positions at an average annual salary of $70,000, plus benefits.
Louisiana Economic Development estimated the project would result in an additional 117 indirect jobs.
At peak building activity, the company estimated, the project would generate 150 construction jobs.
Based in Toronto, First Bauxite has concluded a feasibility study calling for the company to mine bauxite — an alumina-based ore — from Guyana, on the northern coast of South America, and ship it to Louisiana.
At the town of Reserve, the company would use the bauxite to manufacture ceramic proppants for the oil and gas industry. Proppants are sands or manufactured ceramic materials added to an industrial fluid to keep a hydraulic fracture open during or following the fracking process that releases oil and natural gas from shale formations.
“This exciting project by First Bauxite Corp. of Canada demonstrates the breadth of foreign direct investment opportunities here in Louisiana,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal. “Louisiana has become an ideal location for major investments by both foreign and domestic companies.”
First Bauxite plans to build the plant on a 30-acre tract at the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal, which is owned and operated by the Port of South Louisiana in Reserve.
“Completion of our feasibility study is a significant milestone in the development of our bauxite industrial minerals project,” said Alan Roughead, First Bauxite’s president and chief executive officer. “The proposed facility will be located in a region offering competitive infrastructure, energy, labor and market access.”
State Economic Development officials began discussing the project with the company in March 2014. To secure the project, the state offered an incentive package that includes a performance-based grant of $950,000 to offset the costs of infrastructure improvements. First Bauxite also would receive job-training services and is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. The Quality Jobs program provides eligible companies an annual cash rebate of up to 6 percent of their payroll for up to 10 years. The Industrial Tax Exemption offers abatement of local property taxes for as long as a decade on new or expanded facilities.
Sometime between July 1 and Sept. 30, First Bauxite plans to initiate discussions with third parties to develop finance strategies for the project. If financing for the project is secured, the planned construction period is 27 months, followed by an estimated three-year production ramp-up.
“It is a great time to be in St. John the Baptist Parish, and we are extremely pleased that First Bauxite Corp. is preparing to make its $200 million investment along our industrial corridor,” Parish President Natalie Robottom said.