- Associated Press - Friday, August 28, 2015

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) - DAK Americas, a company that already operates the largest plastic-resin manufacturer in North America at Port Bienville Industrial Park in Hancock County, has announced a new manufacturing plant at the site that will produce 230 million pounds of polyester staple fibers a year.

The polyester fibers are used by the automotive, textile and other industries.

The announcement came Thursday during the Hancock County Industry Awards Gala.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1EoEZqp) the development by DAK Americas was one of three economic projects announced during the banquet.

Ashley Edwards, executive director of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, said the announcement by DAK Americas solidifies Hancock County’s position as one of the world’s most important locations for consumer polymer production.

Edwards said the DAK Americas project had been rumored to be going to Charleston, South Carolina.

“When we got wind of the project, we met with the company and made the pitch why they should locate in Hancock County,” he said. “We can compete with anybody because we have the access and infrastructure to be competitive.”

The new operation will create 86 jobs with an average salary of $50,000 a year, and bring the number of DAK employees at the site to 239. Edwards said the company hopes to be operational in the second half of 2016.

The other announcements Thursday:

- Petroleum Helicopters International Inc. has chosen Stennis International Airport as a contingency operations base. Edwards said PHI is a provider of offshore aviation services for major oil and gas companies in the Gulf.

Stennis Airport, which is owned and operated by the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, will support contingency operations for major oil and gas customer evacuations during tropical weather in the Gulf of Mexico.

- EmberClear Corp. has signed a lease-option agreement on a 150-acre site in Port Bienville for establishment of a petrochemical plant. The company wants to develop a 3,700 metric ton-per-day natural gas-to-methanol project.

Edwards said a project of this magnitude could be an investment of $1 billion. EmberClear President Raj Suri said the company already has the air permits and is raising the money for construction of the project.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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