Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and IT Minerals LLC CEO Jose Domene announced a $4.5 million capital investment by the company in Louisiana, where IT Minerals will establish an importing, processing and exporting facility at the Port of New Orleans for minerals sourced from Mexico and other countries.
The project will create 12 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $34,000 a year, plus benefits. LED estimates the project will result in an additional 28 new indirect jobs, for a total of 40 new jobs in the Southeast Region. IT Minerals is a manufacturer of lightweight aggregates and fillers for polymer-based products; construction products; and insulation, filtration, textile, cryogenic, horticulture and gardening products.
Gov. Jindal said, “We’re proud that IT Minerals chose Louisiana over several other states for the creation of this strategic processing and transportation hub. This is a significant win for our state and will bring valuable foreign direct investment to Louisiana, expanding our international commerce sector and creating exciting new career opportunities for Louisiana families. We are pleased that IT Minerals recognizes Louisiana’s outstanding business climate, our robust transportation infrastructure and our highly skilled workforce.”
As a Port of New Orleans tenant, IT Minerals will gain access to the Industrial Canal and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad. The foreign direct investment project will ship raw materials from igneous rock quarries in north central Mexico by rail to Louisiana. The project will provide a processing and shipment point that initially will serve U.S. markets followed by the Caribbean and the Central and South American markets.
“As we explored our options for setting up our new facility, we found one that offered all the conveniences we were looking for: energy, logistics, land and a friendly business environment,” Domene said. “We had to look no further – the Port of New Orleans offered all we were looking for with the best attitude ever. We are sure that our investment in the area will continue to grow in the future.”
IT Minerals imports and processes raw industrial minerals from sources in Mexico and other countries, such as Brazil and South Africa, with New Orleans serving as a location where value will be added to the product. IT Minerals products are used in multiple industries as a lightweight aggregate or as a stabilizing filler. In New Orleans, natural gas processing will heat and reform the minerals for different applications. Once processed, the product will be stored and prepared for export to commercial customers.
For the Louisiana project, IT Minerals expects to generate 30 construction jobs at the peak of the building phase that will begin in the first quarter of 2014 and be completed by third quarter of 2014. Hiring for the permanent jobs will begin in early 2014.
LED began discussions about the potential mineral-processing project with IT Minerals in April 2013. The State of Louisiana assisted IT Minerals in securing the site, and the company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption Incentive programs.
The IT Minerals 2.5-acre site is owned by the Port of New Orleans, which will lease the property to IT Minerals for five years, with two 5-year renewal options. The New Orleans expansion will consist of an elevated concrete foundation with prefabricated modular shipping containers serving as a base of operations. The site will serve as a manufacturing, processing and shipping facility.
“New Orleans is open for business and we welcome IT Minerals to the growing number of companies that are now making New Orleans home,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “We are working every day to strengthen our economy and to attract new private investment that creates jobs and opportunities in our community.”
The Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad provided key assets in attracting IT Minerals to Louisiana. IT Minerals estimates that approximately 6,000 metric tons of product will be processed in the first year of operation and 12,000 metric tons in the second year.
“The port welcomes IT Minerals as a tenant of our Industrial Real Estate Properties,” said Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “This New Orleans Public Belt Railroad-served site on Jourdan Road, connected directly to all six Class I railroads, is a great choice for their ne¬w perlite processing facility.
“We are hopeful that IT Minerals’ business continues to grow at the Port of New Orleans, and in the future they are able to take advantage of the ability to export containers of perlite directly from their facility and out of the port’s new Mississippi River Intermodal Terminal. The new Intermodal Terminal is under construction and should be completed by the end of 2014,” LaGrange said.
“We at the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad are excited about the opportunity to serve IT Minerals’ planned new facility in New Orleans East,” said General Manager and CEO Jeff Davis of the Public Belt Railroad. “The project will contribute to the continued growth of commerce and infrastructure along the Industrial Canal and will bring both jobs and capital investment to the New Orleans economy. We welcome IT Minerals to the New Orleans business community.”
“Greater New Orleans Inc. is pleased to welcome IT Minerals to the region,” said President and CEO Michael Hecht of GNO Inc. “IT Minerals’ decision to invest in a manufacturing facility underscores that Louisiana’s combination of logistics, business climate and focus on international trade make it a top location for industrial projects.”