NEW YORK—Harrison County officials were recently informed of another new business venture that could occupy a spot on Industrial Park Road. Just one week prior, it was revealed that Nottingham Solar would be taking up residence in Athens Township for a solar farm. And along with the 20 part- and full-time jobs Nottingham is proposing, the Western Magnesium Corporation’s move to Harrison County will add 200 more into the mix.

Commissioners received the press release from the magnesium extraction company last week: “Western Magnesium Corporation is pleased to announce, that after a lengthy search and due diligence, we have an agreement with Harrison County, Ohio which will be the site of the first full-scale deployment of our proprietary magnesium extraction technology in the United States.”

The announcement came to the Harrison County Commissioners rather quickly, and the promise of approximately 200 permanent jobs was the real eye-opener.

“We’re excited for this,” commissioner Paul Coffland said Wednesday, speaking on behalf of his fellow commissioners. “We look forward to working closely with the developers to make sure it becomes a reality. And the potential for local jobs is obviously a big win for the county. Two hundred jobs is a lot of jobs.”

Coffland added that the company had been working with JobsOhio, and Western Magnesium is expected to exercise an 18- to 24-month option on property at Industrial Park Road. Coffland continued that they expect a public signing to follow in just a few weeks. 

“The company was obviously looking at places besides Harrison County and besides Ohio. JobsOhio narrowed down some site selections here recently within the last four or five weeks now. [And] our local development has been involved,” Coffland explained. 

The public statement noted the search across multiple states but commended Harrison County, calling it an “ideal space for [Western Magnesium’s] first plant in the U.S.” The statement also referred to the proposed Harrison Power Plant, hoping it would provide its facility. Western Magnesium also noted the proximity to “a dolomite supply and an infrastructure of rail and highway that will carry [Western Magnesium’s] magnesium finished product to industries across the United States.”

And the opportunities of the land value and more future growth were not lost on the commissioners as Coffland stated that, “Every time you put an additional tenant out there, the property becomes a little more valuable and a little more appealing.”

“It’s going to be huge,” commissioner Don Bethel added. “Because the thing about it is you’re talking about bringing rail back.” They all agreed major construction is in the future, which could involve improving other rail lines — and possibly a bridge. But at this time, it’s mostly speculation.

Harrison County Economic Development director Nick Homrighausen stated this proves that the county “can compete on a worldwide scale to attract business. Furthermore, not just in the oil and gas sector of the economy but the manufacturing side as well.”