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EuroChem Chooses St. John Site Over Iberville Parish

EuroChem Group AG has picked 915 acres in St. John the Baptist Parish for its proposed $1.5 billion ammonia production plant.

EDGARD, La. (AP) — EuroChem Group AG has picked 915 acres in St. John the Baptist Parish for its proposed $1.5 billion ammonia production plant.

The Advocate reports the move means EuroChem will not retain 2,150 acres of state-owned land near Carville in Iberville Parish for the project.

Russia's largest producer of minerals fertilizer now must return that property for sale by the state to a new buyer.

"EuroChem considers both sites excellent and suitable for a large industrial development of this type," said Dmitry Strezhnev, the company's chief executive officer. "After careful and thoughtful deliberation, we have chosen the location in St. John the Baptist Parish for our project."

EuroChem paid Louisiana $12 million for the Iberville Parish site last year. Because the company intends to build the new plant inside the state, no automatic financial penalty will be imposed on EuroChem for switching from the Carville site, said Jim Harris, the Baton Rouge spokesman for EuroChem.

"They'll be working with the state and Iberville Parish on that" next sale of the Carville property, Harris said.

No price was released for the industrial-zoned land bought Monday from owners of the old Goldmine Plantation site near Edgard.

"But they closed on the purchase of that land," Harris said.

EuroChem's board of directors also must formally approve the decision to build the plant in Louisiana before construction begins in St. John the Baptist, Harris added.

When completed, the plant will employ 200 full-time workers with an annual payroll of $11.6 million. As many as 2,000 construction workers will build the plant.

EuroChem also will benefit from a $6 million performance-based grant from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development.

If EuroChem meets its hiring and payroll promises, the state will provide that $6 million for the plant'sinfrastructure improvements.

EuroChem's original agreement with state economic development officials remains in force, Harris said. EuroChem must spend at least $150 million on the project and begin plant construction by the end of 2016.

Any company that eventually buys the Iberville property from the state will benefit from about $500,000 in site studies and improvements funded by EuroChem, Harris said.