State: Chemical company plans to build $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in eastern Illinois

Industrials Associated Press

A chemical company plans to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in eastern Illinois, state economic officials confirmed Tuesday.

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Cronus Chemicals will build the plant just outside Tuscola, a town about 20 miles south of Champaign, and plans to open a U.S. headquarters in Chicago, according to Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesman David Roeder.

The Cronus Fertilizers plant will employ about 175 people, while another 2,000 temporary construction jobs are expected to be created while the plant is being built. Construction is expected to start on the plant next spring and take about three years.

Cronus is owned by a group of Swiss and Turkish investors. In discussions going back more than a year, Tuscola had been competing for the plant against an alternative site in Mitchell County, Iowa. Sites in other states were also considered.

The 250-acre Tuscola site is primarily farm land that sits alongside a CSX rail line. It is also near Interstate 57 and has easy access to major natural gas lines — a key component in fertilizer production. The site was once considered for the FutureGen clean-coal project.

Details of any incentives that Illinois offered to Cronus weren't immediately available. Officials say the Chicago U.S. headquarters will have about 25 employees.