This is a file photo of the Wacker production plant in Charleston. (Photo: Contributed)

State officialsand Wacker Chemie AG leaders announced that the company will build a new production plant near Chattanooga, creating 50 jobs and investing $150 million.

The plant will begin to produce the company’sHDK brand of pyrogenic silica at its Charleston site, Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd announced.

Boyd said:

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Wacker announced its plans to join the Charleston business community less than eight years ago, and in that short time, it has had a significant impact on the state. The company’s $2.5 billion investment represents the largest-single investment in Tennessee’s history, and we’re proud to see that Wacker’s continued confidence in the state’s highly skilled workforce and dedication to innovation has resulted in expanding its Tennessee footprint.

The $150 million investment adds to the $2.5 billion investment the company has made in its polysilicon production plant in Bradley County since 2009. The company currently employs more than 600.

Located adjacent to and integrated with Wacker’s existing polysilicon plant, the new production plant will have an annual capacity of 13,000 metric tons.

Construction will begin in the second quarter of next year, with completion planned for the first half of 2019.

The facility is a key addition to the Charleston site’s supply chain.

“Our goal to make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast forhigh-qualityjobs is made possible when successful companies choose to grow and create new opportunities for citizens throughout the state,” Haslam said. “We are grateful to Wacker for its decision to further invest in Tennessee by building a new production plant in Charleston.”

TVA and local officials applauded Wacker on its decision to further expand in Charleston, citing a decadelong relationship with the company.

Sen. Bob Corker also applauded the announcement.

“[The] announcement that Wacker will invest an additional $150 million and create 50 new jobs at its Charleston plant is outstanding news for Bradley County and surrounding areas,” he said in a prepared statement. “These high-quality jobs will benefit Tennessee families in a real way, and I thank Wacker for its continued investment in our state. I also appreciate the work Gov. Haslam and his economic development team did to make this important expansion a reality.”

Wacker produces HDK pyrogenic silica in Burghausen and Nünchritz, Germany, and Zhangjiagang, China.

The Munich-based chemical company is the world’s third-largest manufacturer in this sector.

“The additional capacities strengthen our market position as a leading global producer of pyrogenic silica and help us to meet our customers’ growing demand,” Wacker CEO Dr. Rudolf Staudigl said. “The new plant is the next logical step toward expanding Charleston into a fully integrated silicon site in the world’ssecond-largestchemical market.”

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