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New silica plant coming to Tennessee

By Deanna Utroske

Last updated on 19-Dec-2016 at 19:04 GMT2016-12-19T19:04:36Z

New silica plant coming to Tennessee

Chemical maker Wacker announced this month that the company will build a new production facility in Charleston, Tennessee; a project that will expand silica production by over 10,000 metric tons.

The cosmetics industry isn’t the primary recipient of Wacker silica. But the company, which describes itself as the world’s third-largest manufacturer in the silica sector, does supply “ultrapure amorphous silicon dioxide powder [that] serves as a flow aid in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food-processing industries,” according to the press release about the new plant.

Site specific

Construction on the new plant in Charleston, Tennessee, is expected to being in spring and to be finished by the first half of 2019, according to the release. The company anticipates investing $150m in the project and employing close to 50 people.

“The additional capacities strengthen our market position as a leading global producer of pyrogenic silica and help us to meet our customers’ growing demand,” Wacker CEO Rudolf Staudigl tells the press. “The new plant is the next logical step toward expanding Charleston into a fully integrated silicon site in the world’s second-largest chemical market.”

News maker

Silica made the news on Cosmetics Design just last week too, when Evonk announced it had bought out J.M. Huber Silica.

Evonik paid some $630m dollars for the business; and in doing so grew its reach in the US and in Asia. Mike Marberry, president and CEO of Huber, remarked, “The silica business has been part of Huber since the 1950s and paved the way for our company’s global expansion into engineered materials.”

In a press item about the deal, he went on to say that “while it is difficult to part with a longstanding business, we see Evonik as an excellent strategic fit for both our silica customers and employees."

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