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Major expansion

It will take a major expansion to the rail infrastructure at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park to accommodate the planned Minnesota Soybean Processors soybean crushing plant, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stut...

3284227+KEITHS STORY dsa rail loop.jpg

It will take a major expansion to the rail infrastructure at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park to accommodate the planned Minnesota Soybean Processors soybean crushing plant, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.

"The costs of the expansion would be passed to both DSA (Dakota Spirit AgEnergy) and Minnesota Soy," she said. "The last thing we want to do is inhibit DSA's growth."

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy produces ethanol and distillers grain from corn. The Minnesota Soybean Processors crushing plant will produce soybean oil and meal. Both will be located in the SEPA industrial park.

SEPA is a partnership between the JSDC and Great River Energy, which operates the Spiritwood Station coal-fired generating plant adjacent to the industrial park. The SEPA rail loop was completed in 2014 with a construction cost of about $10 million.

Preliminary engineer's estimates are not complete, but the planned expansion to the SEPA rail infrastructure and the expansion of rail lines and sidings for the planned Minnesota Soybean Processors crushing plant south of the loop will likely cost more than the original SEPA rail loop project, Ova said.

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Corry Shevlin, business development manager for JSDC, said the expansion will allow more rail traffic.

"At least two unit trains in and (two) out per week," he said. "They could have 500 cars sitting out there at a time."

Shevlin said Dakota Spirit AgEnergy and the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant will utilize all the rail capacity planned for the SEPA industrial park. The industrial park still has unused land, but SEPA would not be able to offer major rail service to additional tenants.

Ova said financing of the project could be arranged through the Bank of North Dakota or the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Those programs make loans to government organizations and not individual companies. Stutsman County would possibly request the loan with Dakota Spirit AgEnergy and with Minnesota Soybean Processors providing collateral.

Officials do have time to finalize the rail plan and figure out the financing, Ova said.

Groundbreaking for the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant is planned for this fall. Construction of the additional rail infrastructure would not start until summer 2018.

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