CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A Texas-based company plans to create at least 60 jobs in West Virginia after it builds a plant that will produce an ingredient used in steel making, state officials said Thursday.
Plano-based Carbonyx Inc. plans to start building a plant in Millwood — which is north of Charleston and near the Ohio border — sometime next year. The company said construction will take up to two years, and once finished, it will have management, operators and maintenance personnel.
The company was awarded a $15 million equipment loan by the West Virginia Economic Development Authority on Thursday. State officials welcomed the news because it not only creates high-paying jobs for Carbonyx employees and construction workers, but because the it will provide a boost for the state's dominant — but struggling — coal industry.
The plant will use coal to produce a carbon alloy that can be used by steel makers as a fuel source, which company officials said is more environmentally friendly than traditional methods used by steel companies.
"This is an incredibly significant recruitment for the state of West Virginia because we're going to show the world how it's done. We're going to show them that you can use coal in an environmentally friendly way and change the economy of this country," said West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Keith Burdette.
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the company would invest "tens of millions of dollars" in rural Jackson County and allow people to continue working and living in West Virginia, which competed with several other unidentified states for the project. Company officials said the state's coal resources, its ties to the steel industry and a government eager to help landed West Virginia the project.
"Their investment opens up a brand new market for coal," Tomblin said during a news conference announcing the company's decision. "It's fitting that a company finding multiple uses for coal is coming to West Virginia. It's appropriate that a company has created a more environmentally friendly use for coal and will do it in our state. We've been the heart of American coal for well over a century."
Sid Gaur, Carbonyx's CEO, said he didn't have a specific figure for how much coal the company would use, but that it would be significant.
Online: Carbonyx Inc. www.carbonyx.com
Brock Vergakis can be reached at www.twitter.com/BrockVergakis