$474M Project Receives Permit for Ashtabula Site

ASHTABULA, Ohio — The Ohio EPA has approved an air permit for construction of the $474 million pig-iron manufacturing plant that a South African company proposes to build on 30 acres at the Kinder Morgan Pinney Dock Terminal in Ashtabula.

The permit replaces one issued Feb. 6, 2019, OEPA said.

Petmin USA Inc., a subsidiary of Johannesburg-based Petmin, announced in January 2019 that it intended to produce 425 tons of nodular pig iron annually at the plant and employ 100 workers.

At the time, construction was expected to begin as soon as July 2019, according to published reports, with production beginning in 2021.

On March 4 JobsOhio announced it was providing a $5 million economic development grant and a $5 million revitalization grant to help to finance the project.

The city of Ashtabula is assisting as well with road improvements.

The OEPA air permit authorizes Petmin to install and operate production equipment for the manufacturing of merchant pig iron.

“Modeling shows allowed emission levels will not cause or contribute to [exceeding] National Ambient Air Quality Standards, ensuring that local air quality will be protected,” the agency said. “Emissions from the facility will include nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and greenhouse gases.”

Before issuing the air permit, OEPA said it reviewed the draft permit to ensure it would comply with federal and state air pollution standards, laws and regulations. The agency reviewed and considered public comments received at the public hearing in May, and during the extended comment period.

High-purity nodular pig iron is a niche commodity that is low in manganese, sulphur and phosphorous. The metal casting industry requires the product to produce ductile iron.

In announcing the project, Petmin said it selected Ashtabula from 11 potential North American sites.

Image: Kinder Morgan. Aerial view of its Pinney Dock in Ashtabula Harbor.