Drax Biomass announces pellet projects, port facility

By Drax Biomass International Inc. | December 17, 2012

Drax Biomass International Inc. a development and operating company focused on manufacturing wood pellets for renewable, low-carbon power generation from sustainable biomass, has announced its plans for three projects in the Gulf region. In the first half of 2013, Drax Biomass expects to begin construction of two pellet manufacturing plants in Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as a port storage and loading facility at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.

The manufacturing facilities, Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Miss., and Morehouse BioEnergy in Morehouse Parish, La., would be expected to start full operations in 2014 with combined capacity to produce 900,000 metric tons of biomass pellets annually using fiber from actively and sustainably managed forests.

In a demonstration of support for these new businesses, both Louisiana and Mississippi state economic development agencies have provided financial incentives to attract Drax Biomass to invest in their states.

In a ceremony held today in Bastrop, Louisiana and attended by state economic development, local officials and guests, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “Since 2008, we have made a strong commitment to aggressively pursue companies that want to invest in Northeast Louisiana and create jobs here for our people. Today’s announcement by Drax is evidence that our work is paying off and we are attracting good companies here to create opportunities for our people.  Drax could have invested in other states, but chose Louisiana because of our strong business climate and our incomparable workforce. Drax’s decision to invest here is not only good news for our economy and our workers, but also for our timber industry and this area.”

“I am delighted Drax Biomass has selected southwest Mississippi for its planned new wood pellet production facility,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I know our state’s plentiful resources, friendly business climate and dedicated workforce will serve Drax Biomass well, and I am proud to welcome Drax Biomass as our state’s newest corporate citizen.”

“This is an exciting step for us,” said Chuck Davis, Drax Biomass CEO. “With Louisiana’s and Mississippi’s support, we look forward to moving these projects through development and into construction during the first part of 2013. Drax Biomass is focused on building and operating clean, safe manufacturing facilities that will support local economies, create long-term jobs, and interface with local forest industries.”

Drax Biomass plans to locate its port-side storage and loading facility on property leased from the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, which will have the capacity to store approximately 80,000 metric tons of biomass pellets.  The facility will be designed to accommodate delivery of pellets by rail and truck and is expected to be operational in 2014. According to Port of Greater Baton Rouge Director Jay Hardman, “Drax Biomass’s Baton Rouge Transit facility will provide efficient materials handling, storage, and shipping services for this renewable energy fuel.”

“The broad government, community, and industry support the states of Mississippi and Louisiana have provided reflects the open, collaborative, and cooperative manner in which we plan to expand our business in the U.S.,” added Ken Budreau, senior vice president, development at Drax Biomass.