CHARLESTON, W.Va.--Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to announce today that Carbonyx International USA will construct a carbon alloy manufacturing plant in Jackson County -- a move that could boost the local economy and the state's coal industry.
The first phase of the multimillion-dollar project, to be announced at a morning press conference at the state Capitol, will lead to the creation of about 60 permanent jobs and hundreds of temporary construction jobs, multiple sources confirmed to the Daily Mail this week.
However, the overall Carbonyx project could involve more than $250 million in capital investments and create more than 200 additional jobs in coming years.
Carbonyx plans to build the plant near the Jackson County Maritime and Industrial Center in Millwood, just south of Ravenswood, according to sources familiar with the deal.
The sources asked to remain anonymous, as they were not yet authorized to speak publicly about the plan.
The plant will be built on 56 acres of currently empty land along the Ohio River. Carbonyx is buying the land from Century Aluminum; Century's idled aluminum smelter is located north of the proposed plant site.
Carbonyx plans to use the site to produce Cokonyx, a carbon alloy material that can serve as a replacement for traditional coke in the steel manufacturing process.
Traditional coke is made by baking coal at very high temperatures -- a process that is very dirty and can have severe environmental consequences.
Carbonyx, however, claims its proprietary "Carbon Allow Synthesis Process" blends coal with other carbon-based substances in a controlled environment, producing very few emissions.
The process was developed on a small scale at a plant in Plano, Texas. The company has partnered with U.S. Steel to implement the process at a plant in Gary, Ind. The process is also being used at plant in Ardmore, Okla., and another plant in India.
Officials hope the process creates a new, domestic market for the state's metallurgical coal reserves.