VIDALIA, La. — Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards and Syrah Resources CEO Shaun Verner announced the company has selected a Vidalia site as its preferred location for its $25 million capital investment to develop a graphite processing facility in Louisiana. The Concordia Parish plant will produce graphite anode materials for batteries in electric vehicles and other products. The company, based in Melbourne, Australia, plans an initial graphite processing plant in a 50,000-square-foot industrial building it intends to purchase near the Vidalia Port. The building can be expanded at a later date, should Syrah develop additional phases.
The commercial project will create 25 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $60,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also will result in 30 new indirect jobs, for a total of 55 new jobs in Central Louisiana.
“Syrah Resources is the latest international company to find that Louisiana is a great place for business investment,” Gov. Edwards said. “We have attracted over $42 billion in Foreign Direct Investment since 2010, and these international investments are responsible for 73,400 jobs in Louisiana, including more than 20,000 in the manufacturing sector. This innovative project is a welcome addition to Louisiana’s manufacturing portfolio.”
Syrah Resources mines and produces natural flake graphite in Mozambique and plans to ship the material to Louisiana for further processing. At the Concordia Parish facility, Syrah would mill and refine the material into high-purity spherical graphite for use in battery anodes, with a focus on customers in the automotive industry.
“Syrah originally identified Louisiana as a preferred location, due to a strong manufacturing and experienced employment base, attractive utility and raw material supply opportunities, an extensive logistics network, and most importantly a focus on development from government and community,” Verner said. “All of these elements have been clearly demonstrated in the interactions we have had in Vidalia, and we are very positive about the long-term benefit of locating here.”
“The Town of Vidalia welcomes Syrah Resources to our community,” Vidalia Mayor Buz Craft said. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to diversify our industrial base with an additional manufacturer in our industrial parks. The town, and the State of Louisiana, have made significant investments into our industrial parks and port facility, and today we see the benefits of that investment through the creation of 25 new quality jobs with competitive wages. We look forward to developing a longstanding partnership with Syrah Resources in Vidalia.”
To secure the project, LED offered the company an incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart®, the top-ranked state workforce training program in the nation. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“Concordia Economic Development is proud to aid in establishing new business growth and the creation of new manufacturing jobs in Concordia Parish,” said Chairman Richard Young of Concordia Economic Development. “Receiving unanimous support from our local governing authorities for industrial tax incentives is proof that we are open for business and we welcome new manufacturers to Concordia Parish. We look forward to a continued partnership with Natchez Inc. and our local governing bodies, as well as our regional and state organizations who have all played a vital role in recruiting Syrah Resources to our community.”
In 2016, Concordia Economic Development of Vidalia, Louisiana, and Natchez Inc. of Natchez, Mississippi, agreed to formally pursue economic development projects together in the Miss-Lou Region that straddles the Mississippi River and connects the two communities and two states.
“Natchez Inc. has enjoyed working with Syrah Resources, the Town of Vidalia and Concordia Economic Development to make this project a reality,” said Executive Director Chandler Russ of Natchez Inc. “Syrah’s project will generate high-paying jobs with an annual payroll of $1.5 million, improving our average wages and overall quality of life in Concordia Parish and the Miss-Lou Region. Syrah Resources, a new industry to our region, will open the Miss-Lou to new industrial markets we have not been exposed to before. We are excited about the possibilities Syrah will bring our community.”
Syrah Resources expects to start operations in 2018, with hiring beginning later this year.
“This is great news for Vidalia and the eastern region of Central Louisiana,” said President and CEO Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “We are excited about the foreign direct investment made by Syrah Resources. I would like to also thank all of the partners who made Concordia Parish one of the region’s 10 parishes to become ACT Certified Work Ready Communities. Concordia is demonstrating its competitive position at and near its port. On behalf of CLEDA, we thank all who have been involved in bringing this project home.”
About Syrah Resources
Syrah Resources (ASX code: SYR) is an Australian resource company that is producing natural graphite from its flagship Balama Operations in Mozambique. Balama is expected to be the largest producer of graphite globally, and ideally positioned to meet the anticipated increase in demand from lithium ion battery applications, as well as servicing traditional graphite markets. Syrah is fully funded and well-positioned to deliver on its advantage as one of the early developers and producers in the sector. For more information, visit SyrahResources.com.au.