WILCOX CO., AL (WSFA) - A major economic development announcement was revealed for Wilcox County Tuesday. A new manufacturing plant will be built near Pine Hill and will employ more than 300 people, according to an announcement from Governor Robert Bentley's office.
The new, $100 million Golden Dragon Copper of China plant will bring many needed jobs to the state's Black Belt region.
Once the facility is operational, GD Copper (U.S.A.), Inc. expects to employ 300 people. The potential to increase employment numbers to 500 is said to be possible. The company will work with the Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) for workforce development.
"I am committed to putting Alabamians back to work, and this is welcome news for a part of the state that has long been in need of new jobs," Governor Bentley said.
"This project shows how Alabama remains an attractive investment for international companies," Bentley added. "Already, more than 65,000 people are employed by international companies that have operations in Alabama, and we will continue to recruit international companies to Alabama."
"We are glad that GD Copper (U.S.A.), Inc. is joining us as corporate partners, and we look forward to helping the company grow and prosper in Alabama," Alabama Development Office Director Greg Canfield said. "Wilcox County and the surrounding region came together cooperatively to make this project a reality and bring much-needed jobs to the area."
"Working on the Golden Dragon Project with Alabama over the past 16 months has been one of my career's most rewarding experiences," said Raymond Cheng, CEO of Sozo Group and a corporate advisor and consultant for the project. "This gave my team a chance to work with the Bentley administration, which is not only fully committed to creating jobs but also willing and able to implement innovative programs to attract and retain high-quality manufacturers."
"On behalf of Golden Dragon, I would like to thank Governor Bentley and Director Greg Canfield for their assistance with the company's specific needs to enable it to have the best chance at success in the US," Cheng added. "It is easy to see how Alabama has earned a reputation for being open to international business. We look forward to working through the formal approval process from both Chinese and US governing bodies so this project may move to groundbreaking."
A similar project was initially announced for a nearby location in Clarke Count. However, an expansion of the project's scope led to the new site in adjacent Wilcox County.
"The GD Copper (U.S.A.), Inc. project is a prime example of how quickly the industrial marketplace can change," Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day said. "After announcing the project in Thomasville last year, the company found it needed a much larger site to serve long-term needs. The City of Thomasville partnered with Wilcox County in securing the new site, proving county lines should never be a deterrent in luring projects to a region of Alabama."
George Alford, manager of the Wilcox County Industrial Development Authority, said the project is one of the largest economic development events in the county's history.
"Recently, we were named the 15th-poorest county in the United States," Alford said. "We believe this project is the first major step in reducing our high unemployment and poverty rates."
"We are very encouraged to have this company coming to Wilcox County," Pine Hill Mayor Harry Mason said. "It is an exciting economic development opportunity for the area."
GD Copper (U.S.A.), Inc. will be an application center for the most modern copper tube mill in the world, employing state-of-the-art "cast and roll" technology, processing methodology and equipment. The company will be the third Chinese manufacturer to locate in Alabama.
The Alabama Development Office is a sponsor of the Alabama China Partnership's Spring Symposium on March 15 and 16 in Monroeville. Several Chinese government, business, and media officials are expected to attend the event, including representatives of up to 50 businesses from China. Information about the symposium may be obtained at www.alabamachina.com.