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Monday, September 22, 2014, 1:39 p.m.
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Zilkha Biomass to build Monticello plant, add 52 jobs

By Lisa Burnett

This article was originally published July 30, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. Updated July 30, 2014 at 11:43 a.m.

Houston-based Zilkha Biomass Energy announced Wednesday that it will build a $90 million facility in Monticello to produce wood pellets for use as an alternative energy source, creating 52 jobs.

The company's Zilkha Black Pellets are made of wood but water resistant, which allows them to be transported and stored outside like coal, the firm said in a statement.

"This plant in Monticello will be one of Zilkha’s largest and will help us capture more of the growing biomass energy market,” Zilkha Biomass CEO Jack Holmes said.

Nita McDaniel, executive director of the Monticello Economic Development Commission, said the city is proud to have the new facility.

“The manufacturing of Zilkha Black Pellets is a natural fit for the community alongside the University of Arkansas at Monticello’s School of Forest Resources. Our heritage is rich in the timber industry and this heritage continues to move us forward with sustainable wood-based products,” she said in a statement.

Zilkha Biomass spokesman Jonathan Ohueri said the Monticello facility will be the third pellet producing plant for the company.

"We have one in Crockett, Texas, and one in Selma, Ala.," Ohueri noted.

Construction is expected to be completed on the new project by fall 2016.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more on this story.

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