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Ethanol plant seeks investors

Ethanol plant seeks investors

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GIBSON CITY - A group planning to build a $105 million ethanol plant near Gibson City wants to raise part of the funding from private investors.

One Earth Energy hopes to raise from $30.1 million to $60.1 million through the venture, according to filings with the with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. Minimum investment is $25,000.

Informational meetings for potential investors will begin Nov. 20 at Kruse Center in Gibson City. More information will also be available at the company's Web site www.oneearthenergy.com.

Organizers expect to raise the funding through a combination of debt and equity capital. They are also seeking local and state financial incentives and other government grants.

Five Illinois grain cooperatives formed One Earth Energy in November 2005: Alliance Grain, Gibson City; Fisher Farmers Grain, Fisher; Grand Prairie Coop, Tolono; Ludlow Cooperative Elevator, Ludlow; and Topflight Grain Cooperative, Bement. They contributed a total of $1,425,000 in start-up capital.

The company has pegged Fagen, Inc. of Granite Falls, Minn. to be the general contractor.

Plant construction is scheduled to take 18 to 24 months from an anticipated spring 2007 ground-breaking.

Land for the 80-acre site west of Gibson City is expected to come from three contiguous properties: a 35-acre parcel in Jordan Industrial Park owned by the city; a 34-acre tract owned by Lisa Foster of Chicago; and a 10-acre plot owned by Edward and Cindy Tucker of Gibson City.

The site offers access to both rail and highway transportation and is adjacent to the headquarters of Alliance Grain Co.

The plant will produce ethanol via the dry-milling method. A thermal oxidation process will burn emissions and is expected to eliminate a significant amount of the odor previously associated with ethanol production.

One Earth Energy expects to hire 40 to 45 full-time employees.

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