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Developing the SEPA area: Industrial park offers growth opportunities

The Great River Energy coal plant in Spiritwood sits idle in this August 2013 file photo. To the left, near the trees, is the location of the ethanol plant now under construction. Sun file photo / John M. Steiner

Efforts to bring new businesses to the Jamestown area have not been limited to the proposed CHS nitrogen plant, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

The JSDC has more than 500 acres of shovel-ready land it is offering to businesses interested in locating in the area. The land offers the availability of steam heat from Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station, rail access through the Spiritwood Energy Park Association, road access to Interstate 94, electrical and natural gas service and water resources.

The area already includes the Cargill Malt plant, Great River Energy’s Spiritwood Station and the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant, which is under construction.

“This is a unique opportunity (for businesses) in that you have a power plant, steam, railroads all put together in a high-quality manner,” said John Mittleider, manager of ag and bio-energy development for the North Dakota Department of Commerce. “It should be an attractive location for a lot of companies.”

The 500 acres located within and adjacent to the SEPA industrial park do not include the property planned for the proposed CHS nitrogen plant. If that plant is built it would be located about 1 mile east of the SEPA location on land purchased by CHS, Ova said.

CHS announced plans for a nitrogen fertilizer plant near Spiritwood in September 2012. In April, CHS announced plans for the project were on hold after costs of the project had reached estimates of about $2 billion. The project remains on hold.

Other projects have expressed interest in locating at Spiritwood.

“E-Nugget still has a spot in the park,” Ova said. “They are looking at 40 acres but could expand to 75 acres total.”

E-Nugget would smelt iron ore transported from Minnesota in coal railcars that currently travel west empty. Earlier presentations by E-Nugget management estimated the first phase costs of the plant at about $60 million with an employment of about 40 people.

Carbontec, the parent company of E-Nugget, is currently attempting to arrange financing for the project.

Ova said other projects are not as far along in the planning process.

BeetsAll Biofuel continues to research specialized sugar beets, known as industrial beets, that could be processed into fuels or other industrial sugar products. The organization has listed Spiritwood as a potential processing plant in the future, Ova said.

Other potential businesses that have contacted the JSDC about options in Spiritwood have included preliminary talks with an oil refinery, a livestock feedlot, a propane transload facility and a plant that would process limestone into a material that could be used to scrub carbon dioxide from the emissions of a coal-fired generating plant.

Mittleider said the Department of Commerce is also working with a number of possible businesses, although he declined to provide any information.

“There is a lot of efficiency to be gained by co-locating at a place like SEPA,” he said. “I wouldn’t limit it to value-added agriculture. A lot of different industries would benefit.”

JSDC has about $2.1 million invested in the land at Spiritwood, Ova said. That includes the original 100 acres owned by the JSDC within the SEPA industrial park that was purchased for $1,000 per acre and a recent purchase of 320 acres of adjacent land at $6,000 per acre.

The JSDC is a partner with GRE on the $10 million rail loop project now under construction. This brings the total JSDC investment in Spiritwood to about $7 million.

Workers and water could be future problems for development, Mittleider said. He said both can be solved.

“Workforce is an issue anywhere in North Dakota,” he said. “Water depends a lot on the CHS project. There may also be an opportunity to clean up waste water for industrial use.”

The proposed CHS nitrogen plant would utilize an average of 2,500 gallons per minute from a number of sources. This would reduce the water resources available for other projects.

“We’re still developing what the water resources are, but I think we’re good,” Ova said. “We’re being very cautious about promising more than we have.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at