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Published: Wednesday, 10/7/2009

Fulton County plant on hold

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

DELTA, Ohio - A British firm's plans to build a factory to recover zinc and other elements from steel by-products in Fulton County's York Township have been put on hold, pending further financing.

ZincOx Resources PLC, of Surrey, England, initially expected to have a $106 million factory near Delta opened this year when the project was discussed in mid-2007 with state and local development officials.

But a global financial meltdown and worldwide credit crunch have frozen the project, even though it's already received the permits it requires to operate.

The 45,000-square-foot facility is to be built on 17 acres close to two steel minimills: North Star Blue Scope Steel and Worthington Steel.

The plant would recycle dust from furnaces - like those at the minimills, which make steel from scrap metal - to make products used in steelmaking, such as pig iron and zinc concentrate. The plant was expecting to hire more than 50 workers at a starting hourly wage of $14.50.

Deborah Paxford, an officer of ZincOx Resources, said the company delayed its plans to build in northwest Ohio when the credit crunch took hold, reducing the amount of financing available.

"We're still keen on going ahead in Ohio, and we're working hard on making it happen," Ms. Paxford explained.

The cost of the facility in York Township had been estimated at approximately $106 million, but grew to an estimated $179 million as the project plans were finalized, Ms. Paxford said.

Andrew Wollett, ZincOx's executive chairman, told investors last month that the company had canceled $48 million in bonds that were going to be used to finance part of the project.

Lisa Arend, economic development director for Fulton County, said the county is still working with ZincOx to make the York Township facility a reality, though she would not divulge details of what assistance the county may be providing.

"We're still looking forward to them becoming a part of Fulton County," Ms. Arend said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.


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