NEW MADRID COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and other lawmakers were in New Madrid County, Missouri on Friday, March 9 for the announcement of a smelter coming to the area.
The announcement took place at St. Jude Industrial Park at 2 p.m.
The CEO of Magnitude 7 Metals Bob Prusak said the smelter restart will bring 450 jobs and begin production in the 2nd quarter.
Prusak thanked President Trump and others for implementing tariffs and said it could bring another 450 jobs later on.
In 2016, when the former owners of the smelter at the St. Jude Industrial Park filed for bankruptcy, hundreds of jobs disappeared in a major economic hit to the region. M7M acquired the facility with the plan to bring two out of three production lines for processing aluminum back in service, phasing-in operations over two years beginning in 2018.
"This a fantastic day, because of your hard work," said Gov. Greitens. He told the crowd, "We are ready to grow!"
Greitens said a bill introducing jobs got killed on the last day of the session. On the last day, Greitens went to the House floor and told Don, "I'm going to find a way to get this done."
Greitens said he called a special session and came down to New Madrid County and hundreds turned out. He said people told him "We don't want welfare, we want jobs."
The average wage is over $64,000 a year for the jobs.
"These are quality jobs we are bringing back to southeast Missouri," said the governor.
Greitens said it is just the beginning bringing more jobs and higher pay to southeast Missouri.
"It's the day we are celebrating hundreds of jobs coming back to the Bootheel," Congressman Jason Smith said.
Smith said he talked to President Trump in the White House twice in the last two weeks about aluminum and trade.
New Madrid City Administrator Richard McGill said the facility will house an aluminum smelter. The steel mill bill did get the smelter there, he said. They are working on and hoping for a steel mill in the near future.
According to Rep. Don Rone (R-Portageville), Congressman Jason Smith, state representatives, and senators along with the management of Magnitude 7 Metals will be at the announcement.
The new facility in New Madrid County could bring nearly 400 jobs to the area. Magnitude 7 Metals is currently hiring staff. The smelter is located at the former Noranda Aluminum smelter.
City Administrator for the City of New Madrid, Richard McGill says this region needs a job as dependable as the smelters.
"Right I mean it was certainly the highest paying work that was around here and so people are willing to drive if the wages are high enough," said McGill. "So I expect to see that again."
The city is also trying to work with other companies to create even more jobs. That would help cover the more than 500 jobs the area is still down.
"What we're trying to do is bring all of those jobs back but with different employers," McGill added. "So that we don't put all of our eggs in one basket."
Which is exactly why former Noranda employees like Keith Kellum are happy about the new jobs.
"It hit hard, it hit southeast Missouri hard like a hammer," said Kellum, the 15-year-employee.
Rep. Rone said the project had been two long years in the making.