- Associated Press - Friday, July 4, 2014

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - A north Alabama chemical facility is getting an $11.2 million upgrade as part of plans for expanded operations that will create 13 new jobs at salaries well the state’s median household income.

A top official at the 3M Co.’s facility on State Docks Road in Decatur told the Decatur Daily (https://bit.ly/1n0fGQc ) that the facility is on track to begin producing “fine chemicals” in the second quarter of 2015.

Site operations manager Robin Higgs told the newspaper that the chemicals are something that no 3M plant has produced in mass quantities before. “Fine chemicals are small-volume, very high-dollar products,” Higgs said, noting that the expansion comes after a pilot production program in St. Paul Minnesota.

“The business is growing, so they’re investing in the full-scale production line in Decatur,” Higgs said.

The Decatur plant mostly produces adhesives in batches ranging from 3,000 to 6,000 gallons. The new process will yield 300 gallon-batches of fine chemicals, Higgs said.

Documents filed with the Decatur Industrial Development Board say the new production line will involve 13 new jobs with an average annual salary of $58,750, not including benefits. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Alabama’s median household income in 2012 was $43,160. The per capita income was $23,587.

The Decatur 3M plant currently has about 840 employees.

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