Construction should start this year on a $2.7 billion fertilizer plant in southwestern Indiana more than three years after the project was announced.
Midwest Fertilizer Co. officials said Monday that the company has awarded a contract to ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions USA to design and build the project on a 226-acre site near the Ohio River city of Mount Vernon, about 20 miles west of Evansville.
Financing for the project should be finalized by mid-2016 and the plant is projected to be complete in 2020, Midwest Fertilizer President Mike Chorlton told the Evansville Courier & Press.
"It gives us full comfort that we know how much our plant is going to cost us," Chorlton said. "None of the investors are willing to commit until they see a fixed price. That's really important."
The plant will produce nitrogen fertilizer and diesel exhaust fluid for the U.S. market.
The project's principal sponsor and developer is Fatima Fertilizer Company, part of Pakistan-based Fatima Group.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence withdrew state support for the project in early 2013, citing U.S. military officials' concerns about fertilizer made overseas by Fatima Group being used in roadside explosives in Afghanistan. Pence dropped his opposition in 2014 after a review by the U.S. Department of Defense found Fatima had been cooperating with the government.
Midwest Fertilizer withdrew its request for state economic incentives last year. The project is being financed with about $1.25 billion in federal bonds, along with bonds to be issued by Posey County and money from private investors.
John Taylor, executive director of the Posey County Economic Development Partnership, said the project will have a big economic impact on the area, creating more than 2,500 construction jobs and about 200 permanent positions at the plant.
"I'm very confident that this project is going to break ground this summer," he said.
Chorlton said Midwest Fertilizer was negotiating a year ago with a different contractor for project engineering, procurement and construction, but those talks fell apart last spring. The new contract took several months to finalize.