Opening of new industry celebrated

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2000

Brookhaven may not be the center of the world, but MineralsTechnologies officials are looking forward to the city playing animportant role in Specialty Minerals Inc.’s activities in thefuture.

“It is an integral part of our operations and our growth plan,”said Dr. Jean-Paul Valles, Minerals Technologies chairman and chiefexecutive officer, Monday during a reception to celebrate theopening of Specialty Minerals Inc.’s new $20 million facility inthe Industrial Park.

Specialty Minerals Inc. (SMI), a subsidiary of MineralsTechnologies, produces specialty Precipitated Calcium Carbonate(PCC) which is used in the production of automotive andconstruction sealants, antacids, food and nutritional supplementsand vinyl siding. Valles said the Brookhaven facility willprimarily serve its customers in the east, southeast and Gulf Coastregions.

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Valles said the availability of carbon dioxide, a mainingredient in specialty PCC production, was a reason for thecompany’s locating a plant in Brookhaven. Other reasons companyofficials have cited include a first class industrial park; “strongsupport and a positive attitude” of city, county and stateofficials and a central location to the company’s customers.

“The community has done a very nice job,” said Paul R.Saueracker, SMI president, while talking about local efforts inhelping develop a “wonderful” facility.

During the reception at the Multi-Use Facility, Phillip Price,Industrial Development Foundation chairman, expressed appreciationto SMI officials for locating in Brookhaven. Price said he waslooking forward to SMI being part of the community.

“I’m glad people outside Brookhaven are realizing somethingwe’ve known all along,” Price said in response to Valles’ commentsabout the city and its industrial benefits.

Philip Russell, SMI plant manager, said the plant is currentlymaking products for evaluation by customers and running about atabout 50 percent capacity. He was looking forward to the plantreaching full capacity soon.

“We hope to be there by the end of the year,” Russell said.

Following Phase Two of plant development, the facility will beable to produce 50,000 to 70,000 tons of specialty PCC a year.Russell said progress on Phase Two would depend on customers’needs, but that development could also proceed quickly.

“We think it could happen on one or two years,” Russellsaid.

Following last night’s reception, company, state and communityofficials were scheduled to tour the new facility this morning.

With physical plant work done, Russell said the focus lately hasbeen on landscaping and making the plant attractive for thecommunity. He was pleased with progress.

“It’s always a challenge to take a new plant and get it going,but it’s going well,” Russell said.

The plant employs 15 people and is the third SMI plant makingspecialty PCC. Other plants are in Adams, Mass., and Lifford,England.

At Tuesday morning’s facility tour, Mickey Milligan, with theMississippi Development Authority, touted the new plant’s economicimportance and the role the state is playing.

“This plant is a testament to the role Mississippi is playing ina global economy,” Milligan said.