Rockwood president excited about upcoming Augusta facility



Rockwood Color and Pigment Services announced plans to construct a new facility in Augusta earlier this month, but the company had its first appearance in the community Tuesday at a lunch held by the Augusta Economic Development Authority.

“We are delighted to welcome Rockwood as an example of expansion in a tough economy,” said Henry Ingram, the chairman of the EDA.

Andrew Ross, the president of Rockwood Performance Additives, said this will be the first new iron oxide pigment production plant built in the U.S. in nearly 35 years. Rockwood has grown by acquisition, Ross said, and this is one of the first steps in “organic” expansion for the company.

“In Rockwood terms, this is a first,” he said. “We’re trying to bring manufacturing back to the U.S., and I think that’s a theme that doesn’t get enough playtime.”

The plant is expected to bring 80-100 jobs to the Augusta area, and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver thanked Ross and Rockwood for what those jobs will mean to the community.

“Thank you for your belief in our local community, and for believing in the strength of our local workforce,” Copenhaver said.

The facility will be located at Doug Barnard Parkway and Dixon Airline Road. Plans are still being finalized, so the exact size of the buildings are not known. The plant will take about 18 months to build and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2013.

Rockwood plans to close its St. Louis manufacturing facility and parts of its Beltsville, Md., operation when Augusta opens. The plant will produce synthetic iron oxide pigments used in construction, coatings and plastics.