Fertilizer plant jobs aren't far off
WEVER, Oct 28, 2012 (Menafn - The Hawk Eye - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --For the next three years, Orascom Construction Industries brings to Lee County what America is crying for this political season -- jobs.
The 1.4 billion Iowa Fertilizer plant being built south of Wever will bring 165 permanent jobs and about 2,000 construction jobs to a county suffering from 7.9 percent unemployment. That rate most likely will go up when 570 workers are laid off at the Siemens plant in November.
"We are looking forward to starting construction and very excited about the jobs that we are bringing to Lee County," said Erika Wakid, spokesperson for Egyptian-based Orascom Construction Industries. "We are finalizing the details on the types of jobs and skills needed for operation of the plant. At this point, we know that a majority of the jobs will be operators, supervisors and technical engineers."
Though the plant won't be ready until late 2015, the hiring process will begin six to 12 months prior to commercial operations. Orascom said the average salary of the 165 jobs is 48,000.
"We remain committed to hiring local employees as much as possible and to that end we are working on plans now that will provide training to those interested in working at the plant," Wakid said.
How many shifts and how many days a week the plant will operate were not determined at this time.
However, the main priority is gearing up for construction of the Iowa Fertilizer Co. plant, which will produce urea ammonia nitrate, diesel exhaust fluid and urea. The products made by the plant largely will be sold in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.
"We are in the process of hiring for construction of the plant and are working with Weitz Corporation," Wakid said.
Des Moines-based Weitz Corp., Iowa's largest commercial construction company, was purchased by Orascom in September.
Cory Larson, chief estimator with Weitz Corp., said the construction firm already has taken soil borings of the site along 180th Street to prepare for the initial stages of construction.
Early bid activity has begun as the company prepares a gravel road into the work site, which will be followed by the construction trailers.
Orascom is still waiting on its air quality permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Wakid said, the anhydrous ammonia plant will have a ripple effect on the area and its businesses.
"There also will be many jobs associated with the plant by related businesses for logistics: truck drivers, rail car operators and potentially barge operators," Wakid said. "Separately, the economic activity during the construction period and into the operational period can have a positive effect on job creation for unrelated businesses in the area."
Orascom began its look at Lee County as a plant site in February. The company settled on the location south of Wever because of access to U.S. 61 and railroad service.
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