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USA - Major project appears close - Machining operation could open door to steel complex

Foundry and die casting operation in two years ?

Brownsville is on the verge of landing a major industrial project in the form of a machining plant that over 10 years would be augmented by foundry, forging and die-cast operations.

To be located in a new heavy manufacturing park along State Highway 550 two miles east of Interstate 69E, it would be the first such complex in North America, according to Gilberto Salinas, executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council.

BEDC has been trying to win the projects for Brownsville since the two companies involved — both headquartered in Europe — first began considering the area, he said. The code name is “Project Sizzle.”

“Originally, when they started the site-selection process three and a half years ago, there were about 30-plus cities they were looking at,” Salinas said. “They were looking at several cities all along the GulfCoast.

“Within Texas there were like three or four different locations they were looking at. In the end it came down to Brownsville, Texas, and Monterrey, Mexico.”

Although Monterrey is still technically a contender, Salinas seemed confident Brownsville would prevail.

“They should be operating and producing parts in Brownsville in the first quarter of 2016,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be making an announcement soon.”

Among the company’s customers are the Big Three auto makers in Detroit, Salinas said. Although it has operations in several countries, the Brownsville plant would be the firm’s first U.S. presence, Salinas said.

“They would be ... shifting some of that work over to the U.S., for their North American clients,” he said.

The foundry, forging and die-cast operations would then come online one at a time in two-year increments, Salinas said.

“Each one will be vertically integrated to support two major clients in Latin America,” he said. “However, each one of them can stand alone with the additional business that they have in the automotive and heavy industry sectors.”

The vertical integration plan, which means the companies will own their own supply chains, came from the companies themselves, Salinas said. All told, the four components would support roughly 4,000 high-paying jobs, he said.

Source: brownsvilleherald.com

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