Officials break ground on new pipe plant in Tunica

By Jamel Major - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WMC-TV) - Construction will begin May 1 on a new $300 million pipe manufacturing plant in Tunica County.

Wilh. Scuhlz GMBH already has orders for the new plant to fill, and officials with the Krefeld, Germany-based company plan to start production in December.

The plant will produce pipes for the oil and gas industries.

"It's not just your normal pipe," Gov. Haley Barbour said. "It's carbon steel, that on one side will have extruded metal, stainless steel, that will be more resistant to the gas and oil that goes through it."

Officials said the plant will initially employ 200 workers, but that number will increase to 500 over the next five years.

"One of the things we've tried to do is to start replacing low skilled lower paying jobs with higher skilled, higher paying jobs," Barbour said.

The 450,000 square-foot-facility, which will be built in Northern Tunica County near Highway 304 at Kirby Road, is the company's first North American manufacturing facility. Earlier this year the Mississippi Legislature approved an incentive package that provided $15 million in bonds to help with the construction.

"The legislature allows us to offer some incentives in order to differentiate ourselves to be better able to compete with our sister states," Barbour said.

Officials from the company, state and Tunica County held a ceremonial groundbreaking on Wednesday.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.  The AP contributed to this story.