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franklin county times

New timber industry could grow local roots

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
November 6, 2004
Lauderdale County could soon be the home of a new industry that would create more than 140 local jobs.
Anderson Thomas, vice president of Shuqualak Lumber, said his company purchased technology from TimTek Australia Ltd. that would process high-strength, engineered lumber by using young, small-diameter trees that are thinned from pine plantations. Thomas said he could bring the new industry to Lauderdale County.
But on Friday, he said he was not ready to make an official announcement.
On Monday, state lawmakers will return to Jackson for a special session to consider $103.7 million in bond bills, including $10 million for TimTek. Gov. Haley Barbour's bond package is designed to help keep and attract jobs to Mississippi.
Thomas said Friday that he expects an announcement will be made sometime next week about TimTek.
Money from the $10 million bond would be used to establish infrastructure, build roads, install water and sewer services and power to the site. He would not, however, disclose where in Lauderdale County the plant would be located.
Wade Jones, president of the East Mississippi Business Development Corp., said Friday he could not comment specifically on TimTek due to a confidentiality agreement with the company.
A demonstration plant for the TimTek process was unveiled in December 2003 at Mississippi State University. It was paid for by a $1 million grant from the state Land, Water and Timber Resources Board.
Jones said the new company would make good use of young pine trees in Mississippi's 18 million acres of forest land. About 70 percent of the forest land is privately owned.
TimTek, which is the name of the company and the product, is a long-fiber product that has high-strength properties that are stronger than select-grade sawn timber. It can be produced into lengths and cross-sections larger than can be achieved from the largest logs.
The beams can be used in residential and commercial construction as joists, rafters, headers and other uses where strength and quality are required.
Thomas said the project will cost about $140 million. When built, TimTek will be a subsidiary of Shuqualak Lumber.
He said he believes East Mississippi has a good chance of landing the much-needed industry.

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