State: Sun Coke finalizes plans to construct Haverhill plant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

HAVERHILL - Years of anticipation appear over: a new state-of-the-art coke plant will be built in Haverhill, bringing much-needed jobs to the area.

Officials with the Ohio Department of Development confirmed Tuesday that Haverhill North Coke Company, a subsidiary of Sun Coke, will bring a $135 million facility to eastern Scioto County.

While officials from Sun Coke could not be reached early Tuesday, a spokesperson from ODOD said it was a done deal.

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"As far as we're concerned, the company does have some more regulations to get through, (but) all indications we've got from the company are they are committed to coming to Haverhill," said Maria Smith, a public information officer with ODOD.

At its peak, construction of the plant will bring approximately 800 construction jobs. When complete, the plant is expected to bring approximately 64 full-time jobs.

The state of Ohio has committed more than $1.74 million in tax credits and other incentives to help entice the company to choose Ohio over an Indiana site that was also under consideration. The incentives include more than $825,000 in Job Creation Tax Credit money and more than $900,000 in grants.

"I'm pleased that Haverhill North Coke will build this facility and create 64 jobs in southern Ohio," Gov. Bob Taft wrote in a news release. "Haverhill's investment will make a real difference in a region of the state that needs new jobs."

A source close to the North Haverhill Coke Company said a groundbreaking was tentatively scheduled for

Dec. 17.

Sun Coke, a Knoxville-based subsidiary of Sunoco, had considered putting a coke plant in Haverhill for years, but market fluctuations in the domestic steel industry has always put a damper on its plans.

Coke is produced by heating coal to extreme temperatures in absence of air. The coke is used primarily in blast furnaces in the production of iron and steel.

Unlike old-style coke plants, Sun Coke's new process destroys toxic gases created through conventional coking processes. In fact, the company touts one of their ovens releases less carbon dioxide levels than occurs naturally in most areas of the atmosphere.

At full capacity, HNCC's plant is expected to purchase 800,000 tons of coal annually, producing 550,000 tons of coke each year.

A major benefit to Sun Coke by locating the facility in Haverhill would be a spin-off effect with its parent company, Sunoco, Inc. The adjacent Sunoco chemical plant could use steam generated at the coke plant instead of high-priced natural gas.

For more information about Sun Coke, visit: Sunoco Inc. (NYSE: SUN) closed at

$49.23 Monday, up $0.03 cents.