- Iron ore mining company Cleveland-Cliffs on Thursday broke ground on a $700 million hot-briquetted iron (HBI) production plant in Toledo, Ohio, The Blade reported.
- When the facility becomes operational in 2020, it will be the only producer of HBI for domestic electric arc furnace steelmakers in the Great Lakes region, producing 1.6 million metric tons of the material annually, according to Commercial Property Executive. Lourenco Goncalves, president and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, said the production facility would be "the most environmentally compliant plant in the world" by being fully enclosed, emitting no air pollution and recirculating water from the Maumee River — after being treated onsite — rather than discharging it. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said the plant's permit identified some pollutants that likely will be emitted, but none at harmful levels.
- The project is expected to generate 1,200 construction jobs and 120 permanent positions at an average annual salary of $90,000 when complete. The state of Ohio has committed to an incentive package for Cleveland-Cliffs worth $30 million, according to The Blade, and a 10-year, 30% tax incentive from the city of Toledo worth more than $1 million.
Financial incentives offered up by states and local governments are pretty much par for the course these days when it comes to big development deals. State and local entities provide millions in tax breaks, infrastructure improvements and other benefits in the hopes of good-paying jobs and local economic payoffs. When the right company sets up shop, that can also be a catalyst for other businesses to follow suit.
Tesla, Elon Musk's electric car company, chose Nevada for the site of its $5 billion gigafactory. In exchange for a promise to hire 50% local residents, the state coughed up a phased-in $1.3 billion of tax credits. Once the deal was set, other major companies began to flock to the area, leading state officials to boast that they no longer needed to market themselves to businesses looking to relocate.
Iowa and the city of Waukee are reportedly hoping that Apple can provide the same sort of development rush that Tesla created in Nevada. The computing giant is building a $1.3 billion data center in Waukee and, in return, will get $208 million in state and local incentives. Apple will give back $100 million through a donation to a Waukee economic development fund.