MOSES LAKE — A closed sugar beet factory on Wheeler Road east of Moses Lake soon will be transformed into a plant to make silica and fluoride salt.
The Rock Island-based Specialty Chemical Products recently bought four buildings and six acres of land at the site of the former Pacific Northwest Sugar Co., the Grant County Economic Development Council said Tuesday.
The new plant will create about 50 new jobs when it opens in September 2008, said Jim Trunzo, vice president of Specialty Chemical and the development council.
Trunzo said employee wages would be higher than $10 to $12 per hour.
He said the company is “looking for technically oriented people” who can understand some math and chemistry, communicate well with others and work as a team.
The company makes high purity silica products used in rubber, cosmetics, plastics and toothpaste, he said. The silica also is added to some foods, including garlic salt, cheese products and powdered milk.
Fluoride salt, which is used in water treatment and oil field drilling, also will be made there.
The plant expects to make 11,000 tons of silica annually and eventually double production to more than 20,000 tons, Trunzo said. He didn’t say how much fluoride salt would be produced.
Specialty Chemical is expected to spend $30 million in new equipment and upgrades for the plant, the council said.
The Moses Lake-based Central Terminals sold the buildings and property to Specialty Chemical. The amount of the sale wasn’t available.
The two largest buildings are 43,000 square feet and 60,000 square feet. They had been the two main process buildings for the sugar beet plant.
Central Terminals owns the 473-acre industrial park where Specialty Chemical plans to open. So far, 106 acres have been sold at the park, said Central Terminals General Manager Bob Fancher.
The park also includes a fertilizer company and a salt company, he said.