Fram Renewable Fuels, a company that supplies of wood pellet fuel, will invest $91 million to expand its operations and open a second production plant in the Jeff Davis County city of Hazlehurst, Georgia, creating 80 new jobs.
"Alternative energy manufacturers such as Fram Renewable Fuels help keep Georgia top of mind as a strategic location for this industry, increasing our prominence around the world as a go-to location for these businesses," Gov. Nathan Deal said. "Georgia is fortunate to have an abundance of forestry resources for Fram to expand its wood pellet operations, and meet the growing needs of its global customers."
Headquartered in Richmond Hill, Fram Renewable Fuels currently operates Appling County Pellets in Baxley, a few miles east of its proposed plant in Hazlehurst. Fram said its new plant in Hazlehurst will help the company meet the expanded needs of its customers in Europe that use wood pellets for energy utilities. This plant will have a total production capacity of 500,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year, and will use pine logs and sawmill residuals as feedstock. Upon completion of the new manufacturing plant, Fram will be positioned among the top wood pellet export companies in the United States, exporting more than 900,000 metric tons of wood pellets annually.
"This is another step toward Fram's mission to be a significant, reliable and cost effective supplier of wood pellets, and we are very happy that we were able to locate in an area where we already have roots," said Fram President Harold Arnold. "The pellet business will continue to be a learning process and is no `walk in the park.'"
Fram's Hazlehurst wood pellet manufacturing plant will be strategically located in South Georgia's "wood basket," providing efficient access to that region's raw materials and other forestry products. This location also provides the company with convenient access by rail to the Port of Brunswick, where Fram will export its finished wood pellets to Europe from the port's Logistec Terminal.
The Governor's Office said in addition to the direct jobs to be created, this expansion is expected to lead to the creation of indirect job opportunities in South Georgia's forestry industry to support the new pellet plant as increased amounts of wood are harvested to supply the plant. These new opportunities are expected to have a near-immediate impact in communities throughout this region of the state.
The Georgia Department of Economic Development said it collaborated with the Joint Development Authority of Jeff Davis County, Hazlehurst and Denton to manage this project, which also received a loan guarantee from the US Department of Agriculture as part of a Farm Bill to support establishment of renewable energy.
"This expansion is significant not only for Fram Renewable Fuels, but also for Georgia's growing alternative energy sector," said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Cummiskey. "From our plentiful natural resources to our high-performing logistics infrastructure, Georgia is uniquely positioned to be the best place for wood pellet manufacturers to operate. As the global demand for this product grows, we look forward to partnering with Fram and others in this industry to create future opportunities."