Paris-based Saint-Gobain, one of the oldest manufacturing companies in the world, will expand a plant near Bauxite with a $100 million new investment, expected to create 140 new jobs.
The company will be making ceramic proppants, sand-sized spherical beads that are used in the fracking process for oil and gas drilling. The new jobs will pay about $20 per hour, far above the state wage average.
“This investment is part of Saint-Gobain’s global strategy to invest in new technologies for energy and the environment,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Corp. “The increasing global demand for affordable energy is creating greater activity among oil and gas drilling companies, whose need for proppants will exceed our ability to supply them from Fort Smith alone."
Saint-Gobain has another proppant production facility in Fort Smith. It also has operations in Glenwood, Hot Springs, Nashville and Little Rock and currently employs about 400 Arkansans.
Here’s an interesting tidbit on Saint-Gobain. The company made the mirrors still in place in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles constructed by the 18th century French king, Louis the XIV.
This was certainly a project that the state of Arkansas has pursued for well over a year. In the video below, you can view comments from Arkansas Economic Development Commission director Maria Haley. She shares her thoughts on the jobs climate and economic conditions in this recent Talk Business appearance.