Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 14, 2014

Making an impact

New emulsions plant affects Lewis economy

St. Paul — A company that’s a leading manufacturer and distributor of explosives to the surface mining coal industry is into its third month of operations at its new plant on the Kentucky shore of the Ohio River here.

Nelson Brothers LLC began operations April 1 following nearly a year of construction.

Jon Gieson, director of national accounts for the company, said nearly 100 full-time workers were required to get the plant built and functioning. The plant has 45 full-time employees working in the creation of the emulsion product and its transportation.

The product is shipped by tanker trucks and railroad tank cars moving along a spur connecting with the CSX railroad tracks.

“We hope this is just the start of what will be a good relationship for many years to come,” said Todd Ruckel, judge-executive of Lewis County, which had an unemployment rate of nearly 12 percent at the end of 2012.

Gieson said the company received more than 1,000 applications and interviewed 100 people for the positions at the St. Paul plant. He said the plant may eventually create approximately 65 full-time jobs with and average salary and benefits package of $75,000.

The Lewis County plant will manufacture the company’s emulsion products, which will be transported to open-pit surface mines and distributors in the quarry and construction industry in the Appalachian region as well as across the eastern United States.

The Alabama-based company bought 1,155 acres of former farm land adjoining the plant in eastern Lewis County. A mile-long county road that led through the area and served three homes has been closed on both ends.

“We have worked closely with them to move this project forward,” Ruckel said. “It’s going to have a big economic impact that will be visible throughout the community.“

He said the new jobs will pump an estimated $5 million into the Lewis County economy each year in payroll and benefits.

Nelson Brothers has invested nearly $20 million in the project, Giesen said.

State Rep. Rocky Adkins said Nelson Brothers is a strong company.

“I look forward to working with them as they grow and expand in the future,” Adkins said.

With more than 400 employees and operations throughout the United States, Nelson Brothers has supplied more than 5 billion pounds of its flagship emulsion product, known as PowerNel,® to the mining industry.

Giesen said the St. Paul plant is centrally located to the markets the company serves.

“Lewis County was an ideal location for us,” he said.

Nelson Brothers was founded in 1956. It is a leading manufacturer and distributor of mining explosives products and services to many of the largest surface coal producers in the United States as well as the nation’s largest aggregate producer.

Additionally, through Nelson Brothers Specialty Chemical Business, it provides products and services to customers throughout South America, Asia and Europe.

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