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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday announced Cronus Fertilizers will build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant near Tuscola along a CSX Transportation line.The plant is one of the largest private investments in central Illinois since Mitsubishi Motors North America opened an auto factory in Normal in 1988, said Quinn in a press release."A new plant here in the heartland will provide an enormous benefit for our central Illinois economy, provide a locally made product for our farm industry and create thousands of well-paying jobs," he said.The plant will be built on a 235-acre site on U.S. Highway 36, just west of Tuscola and near Interstate 57. Construction is expected to take 33 months to complete. The facility will produce 800,000 tons of anhydrous ammonia annually, with the majority converted to 1.4 million tons of granular urea per year.The plant will be situated on a CSX Select Site, the Class I's program that aims to identify and certify sites that are ready for development along the railroad's network. CSX Select Sites are chosen based various criteria, including infrastructure and utility availability, environmental reviews, appropriate zoning and entitlement, air quality permitting, rail serviceability, and proximity to highways or interstates.The central Illinois location, state's "world-class transportation infrastructure," and proximity to natural-gas pipelines and a highly trained and motivated workforce were key factors in the decision to choose the Tuscola site, said Erzin Atac, chief executive officer of Cronus Chemicals L.L.C., which is developing the plant.
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