Iowa Loses $1.4B Plant Project to Illinois
Chicago-based Cronus Chemicals indicated Wednesday it intends to construct a $1.4-billion fertilizer plant in Tuscola, Ill., about 20 miles south of Champaign, Ill., an undertaking that will bring between 1,500 and 2,000 construction jobs to the region.
Tuscola competed for more than a year for the project against Mitchell County, Iowa. Cronus initially evaluated more than 75 potential sites in nine states before narrowing the field to Illinois and Iowa.
It is unclear whether Cronus received incentives to locate the plant in lllinois. FutureGen Industrial Alliance Inc., a global consortium power producers and electric utilities, previously considered the Tuscola site for a new clean-coal plant.
Cronus plans to break ground on the plant in spring 2015 and anticipates the project will require three years to complete. Upon completion, the plant will employ 175 workers and produce nitrogen-based fertilizers urea and ammonia. The Urbana-Champaign Sanitary District earlier this year agreed to supply the plant with 6.3 million gallons per day to support manufacturing operations.
Cronus, incorporated in 2012, consists of American, Turkish and Swiss interests with expertise in fertilizers. Other enterprises are considering similar ventures nationwide, the result of increased demand for corn and growing supplies of natural gas, a key component in fertilizer production.
Iowa currently has a pair of large fertilizer plants under way in the state. While Iowa Fertilizer Co., a subsidiary of Egyptian firm Orascom Construction Industries, is constructing a $1.8-billion plant near Wever, where it is based, Deerfield, Ill.-based CF Industries is constructing a $1.7-billion addition to a facility in Sioux City.