bare bright copper

North Carolina to get copper smelting plant

Ames Copper Group to invest more than $26 million to build new copper smelting plant in the state.

Ames Copper Group plans to invest $26.3 million to build a new copper smelter plant, which will recycle and purify copper materials, in Shelby, North Carolina. The company is a joint venture between Prime Materials Recovery Inc. (PMR), headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut, and the Cunext Group, headquartered in Córdoba, Spain.

Currently, PMR’s affiliate, IMC Metals America, employs a 76-person workforce in the state, manufacturing copper for wiring and lightning rods, as well as applications in the defense industry.

With the new copper smelter, Ames Copper Group will create 46 jobs in Cleveland County, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced via a news release in early June. The company will invest at least $26.3 million with the expansion of its copper manufacturing facility located in Shelby and plans to invest more than $50 million in infrastructure, equipment and working capital over the course of the project.

“This is good news for Cleveland County and the city of Shelby,” Gov. Cooper says. “Ames Copper Group knows our state’s strong workforce and looked to North Carolina for this next phase of growth.”

“The manufacturing industry is critical to our success as a nation, and, currently, this operation will be the only custom smelter in the United States,” says Bernard Schilberg, CEO of Prime Materials Recovery, in the news release “We are excited to be able to build upon our company’s successes and expertise and bring resources back to the United States that create more opportunities for our economy to prosper.”

“As North Carolina’s economy returns to growth mode, our existing companies are leading the way with new hiring and investment,” North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland says. “Ames Copper Group is a great example of the kind of confident, forward-looking businesses that thrive in our state.”

Among the positions Ames Copper Group will create are casting workers, maintenance personnel, supervisors and administrative staff. The average annual salary for the new positions could exceed $51,700, with a payroll impact of more than $2.3 million per year for the local economy, according to the state of North Carolina. The current average annual wage in Cleveland County is $40,019.

A performance-based grant of $150,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help locate Ames Copper Group to Cleveland County. The One N.C. Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One N.C. grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“As we get North Carolina’s economy moving again, Prime Materials’ decision to expand its Shelby operations is a very positive omen for the future,” says North Carolina Speaker of the House Tim Moore. “I commend our local and state leaders for their hard work in supporting the continued success of this impressive company.”

 The North Carolina Department of Commerce worked closely with the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina in leading a collaborative state effort to support the company’s expansion, the governor’s office says. Other key partners in the project include the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority, the North Carolina Community College System, Cleveland Community College, Cleveland County, the city of Shelby, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership and Duke Energy.