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Published: Tuesday, 9/19/2006

Ottawa County selected for beryllium plant

ELMORE - Brush Wellman Inc. said yesterday it has chosen this Ottawa County town for an automated beryllium-processing plant.

The plant, which would cost between $40 million and $60 million and would be largely paid for by the U.S. Department of Defense, would create 25 jobs but would not be ready until at least 2010.

The company also had considered a site in Utah, but before anything is built, Congress would have to appropriate money.

"The thing is, the announcement doesn't mean a plant definitely will be going to Elmore," said Patrick Carpenter, a company spokesman.

The Defense Department, a large customer of the new plant's eventual products, would foot nearly 80 percent of the cost of construction. Brush Wellman would likely be responsible for about $10 million, Mr. Carpenter said.

An actual price isn't known because the company will spend the next year designing and developing the plant, which will be largely automated to minimize potential safety hazards.

Construction would take four years, Mr. Carpenter said.

The plant would be adjacent to the existing Elmore plant, which has 580 employees. That plant takes processed beryllium and turns it into finished products.

Another benefit of the addition to its Elmore site is preserving 120 jobs at the current facility. The new jobs would pay about $24 an hour, the company has told the state. The company has received other incentives from the state for the project, such as a low-interest loan and a grant for site improvements.

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