Burnsville’s 2013 unemployment rate of 35.4% was more than three times the national average. During the 1990’s, Tishomingo County lost approximately 2,500 manufacturing jobs, primarily in furniture and manufactured housing businesses. As the economy began to add back manufacturing jobs in the 2000’s, the Great Recession hit and saw unemployment rise rapidly.
The area has faced challenges creating economic opportunities for residents. Due to low educational attainment levels, the county was designated as a low education county (25% or more of residents 25 to 64 years old had neither a high school diploma nor GED in 2000) and one out of every five residents is below the poverty threshold levels.
Mississippi Silicon is changing those statistics. The company built and is operating a $200 million silicon metal production facility in Burnsville, Mississippi with the help of RDP’s $20 million NMTC allocation. Silicon metal is consumed throughout the world in a wide variety of applications including the aluminum, automotive, chemical, semiconductor and solar industries.
As a company that will be producing in excess of $100 million in product annually, MS Silicon will require large quantities of raw material inputs for its manufacturing processes. On average during the first 10 years of operation, the company will spend over $52 million on raw material inputs such as quartz, coal, wood chips, electricity, and electrodes – materials that serve as the building blocks for the successful production of high grade silicon. While some of these materials (e.g. electrodes) will be sourced internationally, most will come directly from small towns and regions in the Southern and Midwestern United States.
Mississippi Silicon has committed to provide at least 200 jobs for an area with high unemployment rate and few alternative employment opportunities. Additionally, the investment in Mississippi Silicon brings necessary infrastructure to the Burnsville Industrial Park. Community leaders hope the infrastructure attracts additional business, industry and jobs to the area. Without the NMTC, this project would not have gone forward.