Mitsubishi Chemical eyeing potential $1B plant in Geismar

Mitsubishi Chemical eyeing potential $1B plant in Geismar

GEISMAR, La. (WAFB) - The Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation is studying the feasibility of building a $1 billion methyl methacrylate manufacturing complex in Geismar, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The governor says the proposed project would create 125 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $100,000, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the project would result in another 669 new indirect jobs, for a total of nearly 800 new jobs in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. “

Geismar is one of the most advanced chemical manufacturing communities in the world,” Gov. Edwards said. “As we continue to enhance our world-class infrastructure in Louisiana, we are attracting world-scale production facilities like the one proposed by Mitsubishi Chemical. We look forward to working with MCC to attract this permanent investment and the accompanying quality jobs to our state.”

Methyl methacrylate, or MMA, is a vital building block for acrylic-based polymers. MMA is used in paints, adhesives, glazes, lighting displays, building panels, bath fixtures, flat-screen monitors, clear acrylic barriers in retail and manufacturing environments for virus protection. It can also be used to contribute strength, durability, transparency, and resistance to scratches and abrasions in other products.

“The Geismar project would be the third and largest commercial application of MCC’s proprietary Alpha technology, which was first deployed in 2008,” said Hitoshi Sasaki, who is chief operating officer for MCC’s global methyl methacrylate business.

“This technology and plant design are perfectly matched for the shale gas-based feedstock slate in the United States, and strengthens our global leadership in the MMA merchant market. We look forward to partnering with the State of Louisiana and the people of Ascension Parish.”

Since 2000, LED and its partners have attracted Japanese foreign direct investment totaling over $8 billion in economic development projects and more than 5,300 new jobs for Louisiana residents.

“In Ascension Parish, we are proud of our global business community and the local workforce they employ, as they are vital to the sustainability of our economy and provide an elevated quality of life for our residents,” said Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment. “Mitsubishi Chemical would make a tremendous addition to further grow our economic base.”

Officials with LED say they began discussing a potential MMA plant with Mitsubishi Chemical in 2016. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered MCC a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive workforce solutions of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce program, LED FastStart, and a $4 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs, payable in two equal installments in 2024 and 2025 as capital expenditures are certified. In addition, MCC is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

“As the world’s largest producer of MMA and a leader in technology, Mitsubishi Chemical will be right at home in Ascension Parish,” said President and CEO Kate MacArthur of the Ascension Economic Development Corporation. “By connecting our strategic location with our world-class workforce, we look forward to helping make the final location decision an easy one.”

MCC would develop the world’s largest and most modern MMA complex, with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation an estimated production capacity of 350,000 tons per year. The company would build on a 67-acre greenfield site it has acquired from synthetic rubber manufacturer Lion Elastomers. With a final investment decision, MCC would begin construction activities leading to initial operations as soon as 2025.

“The Capital Region, and particularly Ascension Parish, continue to be a magnet for petrochemical investment,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “The economic impact of a more than $1 billion direct capital investment and the creation of 125 jobs cannot be overstated. This project would have a multiplier impact on our region and would be the largest MMA plant in the world. BRAC and our partners in Ascension Parish look forward to supporting Mitsubishi Chemical and welcoming their team to the Baton Rouge area.”

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