CHICAGO Globe Specialty Metal Inc. wants environmental officials to reconsider a permit issued to Mississippi Silicon LLC for a greenfield silicon metal manufacturing plant in Tishomingo County, Miss.
The New York-based company, the only domestic producer of silicon metal, alleges that Mississippi Silicon had been approved to build a plant that would not meet industry standards for pollution control and that would be "without any air pollution controls at all" for some processes, according to a Feb. 12 release.
Globe, which operates a silicon metal plant with two furnaces about 200 miles south of Tishomingo County in Selma, Ala., also accuses Mississippi Silicon, which would be a domestic competitor, of not providing "complete and accurate" information to state environmental regulators.
Mississippi Silicon president and chief executive officer David Tuten declined to comment Feb. 13.
Globe claims that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) "seems to have been under pressure to process the permit more quickly than a thorough process would allow," and it should review Mississippi Silicons permit and reconsider whether one should be issued for the project.
The MDEQ did not respond to a request for comment Feb. 13.
The $200-million Mississippi Silicon facility is expected be built in two years, employ up to 200 workers and produce 36,000 tonnes of silicon metal annually once fully operational. Groundbreaking has already occurred and initial work is under way (amm.com, Jan. 6).
Mississippi Silicon is a partnership between the Vicintin family, which owns Bocaiúva, Brazil-based ferroalloy and nonferrous producer Rima Industrial SA, and Clean Tech I LLC, a U.S. investment group whose members include steel industry veteran John Correnti.
Some of Mississippi Silicons top executives are former Globe employees, including Tuten and John Lalley, a former chief financial officer at Globe and now vice president of finance at Mississippi Silicon.
New silicon metal capacity in North America is expected, given increased demand and low energy costs in the region, Globe chief executive officer Jeff Bradley said during an earnings conference call earlier this month. "When you look around the world, one of the best places to manufacture is the United States," he said (amm.com, Feb. 7).
Madrid-based Grupo FerroAtlántica SA also is looking to expand in North American and recently announced plans to spend $375 million to build a silicon metal plant in Quebec (amm.com, Feb. 4).