One of the poorest Missouri counties and Congressional districts in America is getting up to 400 new manufacturing jobs. A press release from Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, says a company called Magnitude Seven Metals will announce its plans on Friday to reopen the former Noranda aluminum plant near New Madrid – a factory that closed in 2016 and put 900 Missourians out of work.
The southeast Missouri project is two years in the making and New Madrid City Administrator Richard McGill tells Missourinet the news is a celebration for the struggling community.
“When Noranda closed, we lost 900 jobs, which was devastating to a county of our size and a city of our size. Of those 900, 135 of those lived in the city of New Madrid,” he says. “To find any comparable paying jobs, people had to move. At the same time, when these jobs come back, I know just from personal contacts that people will move back. They want to be here. This is where home is.”
According to McGill, an explosion at the Noranda plant that caused a lot of damage, the price of aluminum and the cost of electricity contributed to the factory’s demise. He says the community is still dealing with the economic blow from the plant’s closure.
“This wasn’t just a city of New Madrid issue or a New Madrid county issue. It’s a southeast Missouri issue. It’s a state of Missouri issue,” says McGill. “There’s less spending going on in St. Louis, I’m sure. I mean people are going to fewer Cardinals games or Blues games or concerts.”
McGill says Noranda employees had some of the best paying jobs in the area by far.
“What happened in New Madrid county is that we saw our household income fall by over $6,000 for the entire county,” he says.
State lawmakers involved in a special legislative session last May will soon see the fruits of their labor. Governor Eric Greitens, R, called an extraordinary session of the Missouri Legislature to pass a bill designed to lure the reopening of the plant and a potential steel mill by offering discounted electric rates to large industrial energy users.
Friday’s announcement will include several state and local officials there to show their support, including Republicans Gov. Eric Greitens, southeast Missouri Congressman Jason Smith and State Rep. Don Rone of Portageville.