ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal offered an official welcome Wednesday to a Texas-based start-up that has begun construction of a $140 million factory in Wrens, Ga.
The company, PyraMax Ceramics LLC, expects to hire 60 to 70 full-time workers by next year, when production cranks up. The factory will produce tiny ceramic pellets from the company’s nearby kaolin mine. The pellets are used in fracking, a drilling technique used to extract oil and gas from shale deposits in other states. The pellets prevent the layers of rock from compressing and trapping the oil and gas.
“We believe that our state is uniquely equipped to be a good place for you to do business. Our state is, of course, rich in kaolin soil,” Deal said. “Jefferson County is going to provide you with natural resources, a workforce and a business climate that your company needs.”
The governor expressed his pleasure that the company would give Georgia a growing presence in domestic energy production.
“Certainly as gas prices continue to soar, we’re glad that Georgia can have a part in trying to address that problem,” he said.
PyraMax will be a big energy user itself, and Deal’s success in winning passage in the General Assembly of a sales-tax exemption on the energy used in manufacturing will save the company
$1 million yearly. Work on already had begun on the Wrens plant when the tax legislation passed this week.
The firm also bought a mine in South Carolina and considered building the plant there.
The responsiveness of Georgia and Jefferson County officials tipped the balance in favor of the Peach State, according to PyraMax President Don Anschutz.
State industrial recruiters guided the company through the environmental permit process in about six months, a pace that impressed Anschutz. The recruiters also helped line up natural gas and electricity contracts.
“Georgia is very competitive but also very helpful,” he said.
Jefferson County Commission Chairman William Rabun told the governor winning PyraMax proved how local governments, area legislators and state officials can come together to recruit a major employer.
“Now that Georgia knows that Jefferson County can make something happen, we look forward to future opportunities to work with other new industries like PyraMax Ceramics that the state of Georgia brings,” he said.