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When Calumet took over the Ashland Chemical plant just south of Louisiana 18 months ago, President Jennifer Straumins promised a bright future.
That future was announced Monday, June 24 at a special groundbreaking ceremony at the plant for a new warehouse, chemical storage tank firm and truck-railroad car loading area.
The expansion could mean as many as 21 new jobs, according to Calumet Missouri Plant Manager Dave Volpe.
“Calumet intends to invest up to $40 million to more than double the production capacity of this facility,” Straumins said.
“This was in the works even prior to the sale,” of the old Ashland-Hercules plant to Calumet in November 2011, Straumins said. “We were confident we could do it after the site purchase.”
The company currently makes lubricants for jet engines, refrigerators and air conditioning. It will expand its product line with the larger facility.
Those include a synthetic oil for vehicles and chemicals for personal care products like cosmetics and pharmaceuticals,” Straumins said.
Straumins expects the expansion to be complete in August 2014.
“That’s actually really fast for an expansion this size,” she said.
The new warehouse will be 11,000 square feet and the project will add two miles of pipe to the premises.
The new jobs would bring 17 Calumet workers in with an average pay of $25 and full benefits,” Volpe said. There would also be four new jobs for the contractors who maintain the facility.
The 21 new jobs would bring the total at the plant to 46.
About 100 workers were at Ashland-Hercules when 70 of them were laid off in the spring of 2011. The entire plant and 22 acres were sold to Calumet later that year.
Another 50 construction workers will also be in the Louisiana area for one year building the plant expansion, Volpe added.
The expansion was done with tax incentives provided by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
At the groundbreaking ceremony inside the plant Monday, Volpe noted the last five years have been “somewhat depressing” in eastern Pike County economically.
With Calumet’s expansion, “Many families will be raised based on what we’re doing here,”