Iowa Fertilizer Co. held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday to mark the start of construction work for its new nitrogen fertilizer production plant in Lee County in southeast Iowa.
The $1.4 billion fertilizer plant, one of the largest private investment projects in the state's history, is the first large-scale natural gas-based fertilizer plant to be built in the United States in nearly 25 years and will help reduce dependence on imported fertilizers, the company said in a release. Iowa Fertilizer Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Egyptian-based Orascom Construction Industries.
During the event attended by Gov. Terry Branstad and other officials, Iowa Fertilizer Co. officials signed an agreement with ANR Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., for the long-term transportation of natural gas to the plant, an agreement with Citigroup Inc. to serve as the lead underwriter of its bond financing issuance, and an agreement with Iowa-based McAninch Corp. to undertake the initial earthmoving and grading works on the site.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved $110 million in loans, tax credits, job training funds and transportation improvements to land the project, and Lee County approved property tax incentives valued at about $130 million. The company had also considered locating the plant in Illinois.
The plant is expected to employ approximately 165 full-time workers when it begins operation in mid-2015, and produce up to 2,200 tons of anhydrous ammonia a day.