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By Trevor Anderson, Spartanburg Herald-Journal
Construction of Toray’s $1.4 billion carbon fiber plant in Moore has just begun, and the Japanese manufacturer has already attracted more economic development to Spartanburg County.
Praxair, an industrial gas supplier based in Danbury, Conn., announced it has signed a long-term contract with Toray to supply the facility with nitrogen that will be used to produce carbon fiber.The company said the contract will require it to build an air separation plant beside Toray that will create about 15 jobs.
“We are very pleased to have been selected by Toray and are looking forward to providing one of the world’s leading carbon fiber manufacturers an efficient, reliable supply of industrial gases as it continues to grow in South Carolina and globally,” said Todd Lawson, vice president of Praxair’s U.S. industrial gases business. “With this plant we are also enhancing density in our strong Carolinas supply network, further enabling us to serve the growing demand for our products by aerospace, automotive and food customers.”
Since the company announced its plan to build the Spartanburg plant in early 2014, Kobelco and Sterling CPI have both announced facilities nearby. Italian chemical manufacturer Ritrama will also invest $65 million to build a 300,000-square-foot plant at Pacolet Milliken’s Tyger River Industrial Park and create 150 jobs.
State and local officials met with Toray leaders last month to break ground on the facility, which they said could have an impact similar to when BMW announced its plans for a plant in Spartanburg County in 1992.
“We all saw what that did,” said County Councilman David Britt. “It changed that part of Spartanburg overnight. And that’s what’s happening on (Highway) 290. We planned the expansion of the 290 corridor… But it took the right company to light the fire.”