Ergon: Ethanol plant to restart in May

Published 11:30 am Thursday, November 13, 2014

About 30 jobs might be created by a restart of an ethanol plant at the Port of Vicksburg, according to a release from Ergon.

Ergon said in a release posted on its website Monday it will restart operations at the shuttered plant in May and hire 30 people to make it happen. The Flowood-based petroleum products and services company also has a 215-employee petroleum refinery at the port.

Ergon was originally a partner in the plant, which opened in May 2008. Production was suspended in December 2012 amid high prices for corn the company said made the venture less profitable. Ergon bought out its partner, St. Louis-based Bunge North America, earlier this year. The plant had an annual capacity of about 60 million gallons.

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The company will invest an unspecified amount of money upgrading the plant, allowing it to make corn oil that can be used to make biodiesel, in addition to ethanol.

The ethanol plant was one factor driving higher corn planting in the Mississippi Delta. Ergon says it plans to buy corn locally.

Warren County’s job picture improved in September, the most recent month where figures were available. Unemployment was 8 percent for the month, unchanged from August. Figures for October are expected to be released later this month.

In October, the company said it expects to spend $150 million to expand its oil refinery at the port. The expansion involves supplying the plant with more kinds of crude oil. Ergon is also expanding its refinery in West Virginia.