A joint venture between Indianapolis-based Heritage Environmental and Zinc Nacional in Mexico has announced plans to set up shop in Muncie. Waelz Sustainable Products LLP plans to invest $75 million to build a 30-acre kiln facility at the former BorgWarner campus in the Delaware County city. The project is expected to create up to 90 jobs over the next several years, with the potential for hundreds more.
Nigel Morrison, president of Heritage subsidiary PIZO Technologies, says Muncie was chosen from a number of other locations in four states. He says the company wanted to locate the facility in the Midwest because that is where most of the raw material used that would be used at the facility is generated.
“We narrowed it down to criteria like rail access, road access, utilities and, in the end, access to a workforce that we thought would be complimentary with the process and the plant that we’re putting down here in Muncie and Muncie came out on top,” said Morrison.
Demolition has already begun at the site and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. says WSP plans to break ground on the facility in early 2019 and be operational by late 2020. The facility will be used to produce zinc oxide from steel mill byproducts and WSP says, when fully operational, it will be able to process 100,000 tons of materials each year.
WSP says it plans to begin hiring for various positions, including management, operations, and support, in early 2020.
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, whose father worked at the former BorgWarner site, says the project could be a catalyst for future economic development opportunities.
“I see this as a beacon of light for people that look and say, ‘Man, look at these two companies, Zinc Nacional with the portfolio they have and Heritage Environmental and look at the portfolio that they have. There’s got to be something going on there; We better take an opportunity to maybe get involved and see what we can bring,’” said Tyler.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the project is one part of a "significant investment" from Heritage Environmental to transform the property and create up to an additional 210 jobs at the site. The Waelz kiln facility is the first phase of development, with the second creating additional space for Heritage Environmental or additional businesses.
The IEDC has offered WSP up to $5 million in conditional tax credits from the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit program. The city of Muncie and the Muncie Redevelopment Commission are also providing additional support.
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler says the project could be a catalyst for future economic development opportunities.
Nigel Morrison, president of Heritage subsidiary PIZO Technologies, says the company wanted to locate the facility in the Midwest because that is where most of the raw material used that would be used at the facility is generated.