BATON ROUGE, La. – Element 25, an Australian-based mining company is eyeing Ascension Parish. If it decides to build in the region, the new facility is expected to bring 220 new direct jobs to the area with average annual salaries that exceed $90,000.

A Wednesday news release from the Louisiana Economic Development said this would likely result in an additional 408 new indirect jobs and approximately 628 new jobs in the Capital Region.

Element 25 has already finished a feasibility study of possible sites where it can construct the new location. The company says it hopes to make a final decision in the coming months.

If all goes well, construction would begin this year.

What will the company produce?

The facility would produce high-purity manganese sulfate monohydrate or HPMSM, a critical component in electric vehicle batteries, LED said. It would be the first new HPMSM facility outside of China, an Element 25 official said.

“Element 25’s production process results in three reusable by-product streams which can be repurposed as fertilizer feedstocks, steel manufacturing and other industrial operations,” the release said. “As a result, the facility is able to minimize its solid and liquid wastes.”

Why Louisiana?

Louisiana’s incentives made it a viable candidate for Element 25’s vision.

Justin Brown, Element 25’s managing director, touched on this, saying, “The attractive incentives offered by the state fast tracked approvals processes and the far-reaching impact of the Inflation Reduction Act, has moved Louisiana to the number one location for Element 25’s first HPMSM facility, with other developments expected to follow.”

The incentives Brown referred to include the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart, as well as a $6 million performance-based grant for reimbursement of infrastructure expenditures. The grant would depend on the company’s ability to meet its employment and payroll targets.

LED says Element 25 would also be required to apply for Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Adam Knapp, Baton Rouge Area Chamber president and CEO said, “Element 25’s interest in Louisiana’s Capital Region is a testament to the area’s booming transitional energy sector. We have seen over $28 billion in announced or planned transitional energy projects in the region since 2020, and as a leader in sustainable metal production, E25 expands on that recent growth.”

Details on construction and operations

According to LED, building the new facility would require a $480 million investment and the construction process would unfold in two phases.

Element 25 says plans would include importing raw materials from its Butcherbird Mine in Western Australia and many of the other HPMSM inputs would be sourced from Louisiana companies.

“Louisiana’s emergence as a national leader in clean energy investment is no accident,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “It is the result of our state’s commitment to climate action and an economic development strategy that emphasizes an all-of-the-above approach to energy. Companies like Element 25 see the strategic advantages of doing business in our state, from top-notch logistics to our skilled, dynamic workforce.”

If the investment happens, officials said construction on the new facility would start in the third quarter of 2023 and operations would likely begin in 2026.