Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling: Three economic development projects coming to Wise County

WISE, VA - Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling joined the Wise County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) today to announce three economic development projects in Wise County, including a wood products manufacturing facility and projects involving advanced materials and clean coal technology.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Lieutenant Governor Bolling said, “I am delighted to join our local and regional partners in announcing these three economic development projects which have the potential to create hundreds of jobs in Wise County.  I thank these companies for deciding to invest in Southwest Virginia, and I congratulate the companies, the Wise County Industrial Development Authority and the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority for the positive progress that is happening in the region.  This is a good day for Southwest Virginia.”
Beginning the announcements at the Wise County Industrial Park, Lieutenant Governor Bolling announced that Lonesome Pine Components Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of thermo foil 3D laminated wood products, is locating a manufacturing facility in the Wise County industrial building with 25 employees expected to be hired by year end and projected growth to more than 150 employees.

Speaking next at the Lonesome Pine Regional Business & Technology Park, the Lieutenant Governor announced that NanoQuantics, Inc., a company with two technology focuses, has located its operations in the Appalachia America Energy Research Center. Additionally, Bolling announced a project under way by Carbonite Corporation of Virginia to rehabilitate a former coal load-out facility in Wise County using a newly developed and patented clean coal technology.

“The Wise County Industrial Development Authority is very happy to be a part of helping make these economic development projects happen in Wise County. The addition of a manufacturing facility, seeing the first occupant establish operations in the Appalachia America Energy Research Center, and the start of a research project involving a new clean coal process are certainly positive developments for not only Wise County, but the entire region,” said Kenny Gilley, chairman of the Wise County IDA.

Jonathan Belcher, VCEDA executive director, said Lonesome Pine Components is producing laminated wood products and building materials for the RV, boating, manufactured housing, hospitality and furniture industries throughout the U.S. In cooperation with the Wise County IDA, VCEDA helped develop an assistance package to help bring Lonesome Pine Components to the region.

“We welcome a new wood products manufacturer to our region. This company tells us that operating a state-of-the-art facility in Virginia enables them to be centrally located to their customer base and vendors, within a maximum of two-day shipping point to customers and one day to receive materials from their vendors,” said Belcher.

NanoQuantics is the first company to establish operations in the Appalachia America Energy Research Center, according to Belcher. VCEDA approved $505,000 in funding to the Wise County IDA for equipment for NanoQuantics and $2 million for the development of the research center. The Virginia Tobacco Commission also provided $5 million in funding for the development of the AAERC.

NanoQuantics is developing a biotechnology-based product line to enhance soils by retaining water and increasing the availability of nutrients as well as to stabilize soils for dust and erosion control. Additionally, the business is developing a clean coal technology to remove sulfur content to make the burning of coal for energy less of a burden on the environment and to increase the value of low-grade coal.

“We are excited to locate here in the coalfields of western Virginia,” said NanoQuantics Chairman Dr. Dick Dugger. “A history of strong work ethic is embedded in this region and with that same type of determination we will advance our company with solutions that address important environmental and energy challenges.” He said the company plans to apply its proprietary technologies in the energy, mining agricultural and defense markets.

The Carbonite Corporation of Virginia has developed a technology called a carbonite process that can remove 100 percent of the mercury from coal before it is burned. Plans are under way in Wise County to rehabilitate a former coal load-out facility at Blackwood for the production of this product.

The Virginia Tobacco Commission approved $1.5 million in funding for the carbonite plant which is funded largely by local coal industry investors. Using a process developed by Richard Wolfe, who has been involved in clean coal technology for years, the plant is expected to create 25 jobs plus construction jobs during the two-year construction cycle.

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