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Plant to bring 60 jobs to Jackson County, Tomblin says

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Carbonyx International has a new home in Jackson County.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Carbonyx officials announced plans for a new plant to be built near the Jackson County Maritime and Industrial Center near Ravenswood.

"It's another great day for West Virginia with tens of millions of dollars being invested," Tomblin said during a press conference at the state Capitol.

The Texas-based company will create 60 initial construction jobs. The multi-phased plant construction is expected to start next year and take 18 months to two years to complete.

"Everyone here has taken the extra step to make sure this project is successful," said Siddhartha Gaur, Carbonyx president and CEO.

"It's especially exciting when a visionary company like Carbonyx invests in West Virginia jobs and their investment opens up a brand new market for West Virginia coal," Tomblin said. "I called Carbonyx a visionary company because they have re-invented the centuries old steel making process."

Tomblin said the plant's announcement is "an important step" in the company's growth. He added that it's appropriate for a company that has created a more environmentally friendly use for coal to locate in the Mountain State.

Carbonyx specializes in an alternative coke product called cokonyx. The multi-step, synthetic process works through a series of chemical reactions to produce the cokonyx that is then used in the metal industry.

"Around the world I don't think there is anything which comes even closer to reducing the carbon footprint and everything as far as the environment is concerned," Gaur said.

Tomblin said when he became governor three years ago he wanted to do two things -- create jobs and lower taxes.

"I'm very proud to say that we have eliminated our consumer sales tax on food, we're phasing out the business franchise tax and we're reducing the corporate income tax," Tomblin said.

Tomblin said this project is not just about jobs that will be created. 

"It creates a new market for our coal from West Virginia and also will help put [coal] miners back to work producing the coal that will be used," Tomblin said.

Tomblin added that he wants to see West Virginia's natural resources used here because that is what creates jobs and wealth in the state.

Ravenswood mayor Michael Ihle welcomes the news. Ihle said one of Ravenswood's best assets has been underutilized in the last few years with closures at Century Aluminum.

"It's good to hear good news. It's long overdue," he said. "The people want to work and they are ready to go."

Carbonyx operates a similar plant in Indiana. Gaur said business is good.

"It's a worldwide demand," Gaur said. "[Cokonyx] could be exported. In the world about 5 billion tons of coal is consumed annually."

Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette said the announcement is a significant recruitment for West Virginia.

Before the governor's announcement, the West Virginia Economic Development Authority provided preliminary approval for a 10-year, $15 million loan to Carbonyx.

The loan would be used for purchasing equipment. Carbonyx would employee 82 people after one year, and 92 people after three years.

Bill Raney of the West Virginia Coal Association said the announcement would allow for the maximum use of West Virginia coal, which would be mined in state and processed at the new plant. 

"There's a lot of transportation costs involved so it's good to have it right here," Raney said. "We can get it to Jackson County pretty easily."

Gaur said once the plant is up and running it will use a "substantial amount" of coal for its operation.

"People are noticing what we've done in West Virginia and how we've changed our business climate," Tomblin said.

Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.cook@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113. .


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