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MS Industries II president pleased with progress as project nears halfway point

As MS Industries II, LLC, approaches the halfway point of what is expected to be a $50 million investment in its Russellville silica plant and downtown headquarters, the company’s president is excited about the progress made and the working relationship MS Industries has with local officials.

The company’s plant is located on Walnut Gate Road. It will be a processing and distribution facility producing high-grade industrial silica.

MS Industries II president Steven D. Smith gave an update of the progress at the Walnut Gate Road location.

“Our private rail spur is complete, along with the dryer, screening tower, storage silos and approximately half of the conveyors that will move silica throughout the plant,” Smith said.

Construction of the plant is a team effort that involves a number of north Alabama companies.

“CSFCO of Decatur is handling the fabrication and erection of our steel structures and the equipment housed in those structures, while Williams Electric of Sheffield is overseeing and handling all aspects of our electrical installation,” Smith said. “In addition, two companies from Muscle Shoals, King & Associates and Keenum Construction, are providing assistance to us in various aspects of the project.”

Smith also praised the efforts of the Russellville Electric Board and the Russellville Gas Board for what he describes as their “timely assistance in establishing electrical power lines and gas lines needed by MSI as part of our operations.”

Plans call for the construction to be completed next year, with the finished product a state-of-the-art industrial silica processing and distribution facility, the largest of its kind in the country.

“This plant will have more production and storage capacity for industrial silica than any similar plant across the country,” said Dan Sim, manager of MS Industries II’s Russellville plant.

Sim said the Russellville facility will be unique with its ability for production and storage of signficant tonnages of whole grain and ground silica flour before shipment by rail or truck.

“The storage capacity at our plant is virtually unheard of in the industrial silica market, and it will enable MSI to consistently meet customer demands in a timely manner,” Sim said.

MS Industries II’s silica is expected to be used in several industries and manufacturing processes, including thermal oil well cementation, foundries, fiberglass, abrasives, glass, filtration, cement and rubber/plastics.

Construction crews are expected to soon begin building two steel structures at the plant, one serving as the loading station for trucks and rail cars, and the other supporting large conveyors that will supply the storage silos already on site.

The project’s final phase will be construction of the building that will house the large mills designed to grind and produce silica flour. Smith said total construction costs for the plant are expected to exceed $50 million.

The company owns a silica mine at its Wolf Springs location in Lawrence County. Plans call for the silica to go through a wet processing at that site and then be transported to Russellville. Previous projections call for MS Industries II to ship more than one million tons of material, primarily by rail, each year.

Additionally, work continues on MS Industries’ corporate headquarters in downtown Russellville. The building recently received an exterior painting, and renovations continue inside the facility, formerly occupied by Bank Independent.

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