Last 12 Months Have Drawn More Investment to Pinal County

by Blake Herzog

Our Golden Corridor is turning into an industrial hub as companies large and small discover its strategic location, talented workforce and tremendous year-round weather. A business-friendly- yet-laid-back climate adds to the region’s magnetic draw.

Lucid’s and Nikola’s huge construction sites have been years in the making, but several more companies have acquired land, started construction on or opened new facilities in the last 12 months. Here’s a look at the diversity of five of these new or coming employers:


NACERO
In March 2020, Houston-based Nacero, Inc. announced plans to build a $3 billion factory on the west side of Casa Grande to process natural gas into sulfur-free fuel for vehicles.

The 1,000-acre site on Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway west of Pinal Avenue will be the initial producer of an innovative fuel that Nacero says will have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional gasoline, particularly during production.

Nacero will use existing pipelines, railroads, highways and power lines for production and transport of its product. It will create 80% of its needed water supply from its process and be powered by an onsite solar plant.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2021 and continue through 2025, creating an estimated 2,000 temporary jobs. Its full buildout is projected to create 265 permanent jobs and generate up to 35,000 barrels of fuel daily.

S Power and NextEra
Two utility-scale solar facilities are under construction in Coolidge, getting ready to generate a total 200 megawatts for SRP — with expansion plans already in the offing. Both won approvals for their projects from the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission in October 2019.

NextEra, aka Saint Solar, has a power purchase agreement with SRP and 1,167 acres on the south side of Steele Road east of state Route 87 and is in the construction phase.

S Power (aka East Line Solar) is currently grading its 890 acres along Selma Highway east of Eleven Mile Corner Road and installing its underground electrical line along 11 Mile Corner to tie into the Pinal Central substation. A second phase is planned for a site in the City of Eloy.

ELIM
In October 2019 Elim Mining Incorporated, formed by a team of experienced mining executives earlier in the year, announced its intent to purchase the 2,645-acre, long-dormant Sacaton (ASARCO) mine west of Casa Grande, and in May closed on an adjacent parcel, the Parks-Salyer property, where additional copper reserves have been located.

Elim representatives said new interest in copper production fueled by the renewable energy industry led to their interest in reopening the open-pit mine off the Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, which it has renamed the Cactus Mine. The company will use the project to showcase best practices for reuse and reclamation of the mine, which closed in 1984.

The company’s preliminary economic assessment estimates an eight-year life span for the mine, producing 75,500 tons of copper worth $510 million. The first phase will create at least 41 staff and hourly jobs across the operational life of the mine.

SEVERTSON SCREENS
In December 2019, Severtson Screens Inc. announced the relocation of its headquarters from Mesa to 41502 N. Schnepf Road in San Tan Valley to expand its corporate office space as well as its manufacturing and warehousing facilities.

Founded in 1986, Arizona-based Severtson Screens is an award-winning global leader in innovative and quality projection screens in the home theater, pro AV, and cinema markets.

With its state-of-the-art robotic application system, Severtson produces an unusually wide range of screens for massive movie theaters for such chains as Harkins and AMC, comfortable home theaters, and everything in between.