Nigel Morrison, president of Pizo Technologies and Heritage Environmental, explains why he chose Indiana as the site of the fourth Waelz plant in January 2019. Then plant was scheduled to open in Muncie at the former BorgWarner plant in 2020. Annie Keister, Photo Provided
Proposed Waelz Sustainable Plant in Muncie discontinued
After discussions between officials from the city of Muncie, the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC), and Waelz Sustainable Products LLP (WSP), a plan to bring a WSP plant to Muncie has ended, according to a press release.
MRC will purchase the former 85-acre Borg Warner brownfield site and any economic development agreements related to the project have been “mutually ... voided,” the release said.
Originally, Indianapolis-based Heritage Environmental and Mexico-based Zinc Nacional planned to invest $75 million in the construction of the plant, which would be a kiln facility that produced zinc oxide from steel mill byproducts. Zinc oxide is used in consumer products such as rubber and ceramics, according to the Heritage Environmental website.
Within the time WSP was allowed to hold public meetings and distribute information, Mayor Dennis Tyler, MRC and WSP “decided these efforts were in vain,” the press release said.
MRC and Tyler would not move move forward without “confirmed clarification” of the community, according to the release, but “Confidence in this project was not obtained.”
It said, “the silence” during that time period was not to ignore but “listen, gain information and conduct proper legal analysis necessary in such circumstances.”
Nigel Morrison, director of WSP, in another press release by Heritage Environmental, said his organization “made every effort” to have a meaningful dialogue with community leaders and address concerns.
“Unfortunately a campaign of misinformation tainted the process and ultimately made it impossible for the city council to continue supporting the project,” Morrison said.
Morrison goes on to say, in agreement with the City of Muncie and MRC, they have decided to “move on from Muncie.”
Todd Donati, director of MRC, said in the press release, this investment would have “revitalized a decade-old eye sore” apart from addressing environmental issues and generating jobs.
“I worked with WSP and its partners for more than a year and at no time, including now, did I feel that they would produce any product that would be dangerous to our community or environment,” Donati said.
A meeting scheduled before the canceling of the project was announced is still underway 7 p.m. Tuesday at Muncie Central.
This story will be updated.