Economic Development

Portman Tours Ashtabula Port, Petmin Project Site

ASHTABULA, Ohio — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) visited the Ashtabula Port Friday, accompanied by leaders of the Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County as he toured the Petmin Project site,.

“Following the tour, I had a great discussion with the Army Corps, staff from Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio EPA, and others discussing the environmental impacts of the Port,” said Portman in a statement released by his office.

Petmin Ltd., based in South Africa, is developing a $474-million pig-iron manufacturing plant on a 30-acre lakefront site at the Pinney Dock Terminal. The OEPA granted Petmin USA Inc. a final air emissions permit in March.

The plant will produce high-purity nodular pig iron, a niche commodity that is low in manganese, sulphur and phosphorous. The metal casting industry requires the product in order to produce ductile iron, a unique engineering alloy, according to Petmin’s website.

In announcing the project, Petmin said it selected Ashtabula from 11 potential North American sites. The plant will employ 110 full-time workers and generate an annual payroll of $6.6 million. Petmin USA estimates a minimum of 500 construction workers will be required to build the plant

During his visit, development officials updated Portman on other economic development projects, said Greg Myers, executive director of the Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County. Among the subjects discussed was the impact that “our two wild and scenic rivers have on the overall health of our local and state economies,” he said.

“As co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, I will continue to lead the fight to protect our Great Lakes while ensuring that this treasure economically and environmentally beneficial,” Portman said.

With Congress in recess, Portman is traveling nearly 700 miles along Ohio’s north coast. In addition to his stop here and at the port in Cleveland, his itinerary includes a review of federally-funded research at Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory at Gibraltar Island, hosting a tourism roundtable in Sandusky, and holding his annual fishing trip and conservation roundtable in Lake County.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.