cronus

Heather Coit/The News-Gazette The future site of the fertilizer plant, Cronus, is seen here on 750E, just off U.S. 36, in Tuscola on Friday, June 2, 2017. Cargill is seen on the horizon.Heather Coit/The News-Gazette The future site of the fertilizer plant, Cronus, is seen here on 750E, just off U.S. 36, in Tuscola on Friday, June 2, 2017. Cargill is seen on the horizon.

Listen to this article

Drop a question into Tom's Mailbag by clicking here

TUSCOLA — A Swiss-based investment company has become the majority shareholder in the proposed Cronus fertilizer plant in Douglas County.

Cronus Fertilizers announced today that Titan Chemicals Holding, an entity controlled by the Keryman-Avunduk Investment Company AG of Zug, Switzerland, is the chief investor in the project.

Cronus said that “KAIC brings additional financial backing and industry experience to advance the planned facility.”

The Cronus project first was discussed in 2013 although it wasn’t until October 2014 that the company committed to building a $1.4 billion facility in Douglas County, on a site two miles west of Tuscola along U.S. 36.

At that time groundbreaking for the plant was supposed to have taken place in spring 2015 with a completion date about 33 months later.

But no dirt has been turned at the location.

Cronus spokesman Peter Gray declined to offer a new timeline for the project, in part because it depends on a new round of air pollution permitting by the Illinois EPA. The agency had approved an air permit in September 2014 but Cronus reapplied for an air permit in November because of a revised project design.

The facility as proposed would produce up to 2,300 metric tons of ammonia per day and becoming a major source of ammonia for agricultural industries in he Midwest. It would be one of the largest of its kind in the United States, Cronus said.

With KAIC’s investment in Cronus comes a new chairman to the corporation’s board of directors. Melih Keyman, the president, CEO and founder of Keytrade AG, the founder of KAIC and a veteran of the fertilizer industry, is the new chairman of Cronus. Keyman, a Northwestern University trustee, also serves on the board of The Fertilizer Institute and is an ambassador of the International Fertilizer Association.

Cronus did not reveal any other new details about the project, such as cost estimates, length of construction or number of employees, only that it is “expected to provide a significant boost to the economy in the form of construction jobs, long-term positions and spending activity.”

It said it would announce “updates to the project timeline as the development process advances.”

The most recent estimated cost was $1.7 billion. It was to provide up to 2,000 construction jobs.

News-Gazette