Grant Parish plant project suspended

Published: Mar. 31, 2017 at 7:55 AM CDT
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Plans by an Eastern European company to convert an idled Grant Parish bio-fuels plant into an ammonia manufacturing facility have been put on hold indefinitely, officials with the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance announced Friday.

“We’re disappointed that the TopChem project has been suspended,” Jim Clinton, president and CEO of CLEDA, said. “We will work with Grant Parish and Louisiana Economic Development leaders to repurpose the plant, which is one of the many economic assets in Central Louisiana. In addition, we will continue to work with Investimus Foris as they review their options.”

Lithuania-based Investimus Foris had planned to spend $265 million to turn the former Vanguard Synfuels refinery in Pollock into the TopChem plant that would have employed 85 workers to produce half a million tons of ammonia yearly.

Investimus Foris officials said the company is weighing its options, including whether to sell the property to another company or bring in other investors. Investimus Foris board Chairman Arunas Laurinaitis indicated that the company would now explore different scenarios.

Grant Parish Police Juror Winston K. Roberts, who has been active in supporting the plant, said the news was disappointing. “This would have put many people in Grant Parish to work in good-paying jobs,” Roberts said. “And that’s not counting the hundreds of construction workers that would have been needed to convert the plant.”

The facility had been an ammonia plant in the 1970s before it was shut down. In 2003, Vanguard Synfuels started producing renewable biodiesel.

The Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) is an organization which consists of the economic development entities from the parishes (counties) of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Concordia, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon and Winn. The mission of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance is to help people prosper in vibrant, thriving communities.