A new wood pellet plant in Lucedale will be ramping up production in the first half of 2022.
Enviva Biomass spokeswoman Maria Moreno told the Northside Sun that the new plant is still under construction and that the company has already hired 87 of the 90 workers planned for the plant.
Enviva and Mississippi officials announced in January 2019 that the company — which manufactures wood pellets that fuel overseas power plants — will build a $140 million pellet mill along with a $60 million loading terminal at the port in Pascagoula with about $17 million in incentives from state and local governments.
The plant designed to produce more 750,000 metric tons worth of pellets annually. Enviva has 10 mills in the Southeast, including a mill in Amory it acquired in 2010.
Maryland-based Enviva Biomass has pellet plants in Ahoskie, North Carolina; Cottondale, Florida; Greenwood, South Carolina; Hamlet, North Carolina, Northampton County, North Carolina; Sampson County, North Carolina; Southampton County, Virginia and Waycross, Georgia. The company also has export terminals in Chesapeake, Virginia; Mobile, Alabama; Panama City, Florida; Wilmington, North Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.
Enviva is expected to hire 90 employees in Lucedale, with 300 loggers and truckers possibly finding work supplying logs to the company.
Taxpayers will be providing $4 million in grant funds, with $1.4 million for a water well and a water tank, while the other $2.5 million is for other infrastructure needs and site working. George County will provide $13 million in property tax breaks over the next 10 years.
These wood pellets are made from low-grade wood fiber unsuitable for lumber because of small size, defects, disease or pest infestation and also parts of trees that can’t be processed into lumber and chips, sawdust and other residue.
The Lucedale plant will mill, dry and pellet the wood in a press, using natural polymers in the wood called lignin to act as a natural glue.