Wood pellet facilities expected to bring jobs, economic growth to Jackson and George counties

Wood pellet facilities expected to bring jobs, economic growth to Jackson and George counties

GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Two new wood pellet facilities in South Mississippi are expected to bring hundreds of jobs and economic growth to Jackson and George counties.

George County announced Monday that the board of supervisors voted to build a $140 million wood pellet facility at the county’s Industrial Park. That move, which has been in the works for years, is expected to create 90 new full-time jobs, 300 construction jobs, and an estimated 300 indirect jobs in the timber and transportation industry.

It’s an agreement with Enviva Wood Pellets, the largest producer of wood pellets in the world. But the economic growth is not stopping at the production plant in George County.

Enviva will also build a distribution plant at the Port of Pascagoula, creating even more job opportunities. Construction on the $60 million distribution plant is expected to begin this year.

The distribution plant is another project that has been discussed for years. In 2013, Port of Pascagoula officials said the new facility will export about a half-million pounds of wood pellets a year.

Wood pellet plant terminal approved by Jackson Co. supervisors

According to its website, Enviva makes more than three million metric tons of wood pellets each year, which are then exported to power plants in the United Kingdom and Europe. The wood pellets - taken from wood fiber - are then used as an alternative to fossil fuels, allowing electric companies to provide power to generate power for customers while also reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Enviva currently operates six plants in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, and Amory, MS.

According to county spokesperson Ken Flanagan, the production plant is the largest private investment in George County Industrial Park in more than 20 years.

“We are looking forward to engaging talented individuals to join the Enviva team. Within the next few months we will be coordinating visits to the community to introduce ourselves and answer questions about employment opportunities after the final investment decision has been made," said Enviva’s Communication and Public Affairs Director Maria Moreno. "Once the hiring process begins, our Career Page will reflect the various open positions which we encourage interested parties to apply for. We will be sure to keep the community updated on our hiring process and encourage individuals to apply when the time is right, as we are excited to become an employer of choice within the area.”

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