Work started on Rockwood's Augusta pigment plant

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Eighteen months after announcing its industrial colorant plant, Rockwood Color Pigments’ $115 million facility is underway near the Augusta airport.

Ground work has begun at 1895 Doug Barnard Parkway, and a $1.7 million commercial building permit was issued in mid-July for the project’s first phase.

There has been progress underground at the 44-acre site, including the installation of electrical wiring, said Sylvester Bartos, the project manager and vice president of global plant operations.

When plans to develop the iron oxide pigment production plant were announced in December 2011, completion was scheduled for mid-2013. A change in engineering firms and a wet spring and summer have delayed construction, Bartos said. Operations should begin in February 2015.

Augusta Economic Development Authority Executive Director Walter Sprouse said mud from recent rains seems to be the biggest obstacle at the site.

“This is a massive facility,” he said. “It’s just going to take awhile.”

Steel construction likely won’t begin until the end of the year, Bartos said.

The plant will make synthetic pigments used in construction, coatings, concrete and plastics. The facility, which will hire 80 to 100 employees, is the first of its kind built in the country in the past 35 years.

Hiring for engineering and administrative positions has started, Bartos said.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Engineering and administrative positions for Rockwood’s future Augusta plant will be posted at www.rockwoodpigments.com/careers.