BioAmber Plant Breaks Ground

From   The Observer

SARNIA – Construction has begun at the site of an $80-million BioAmber plant.

Preliminary work is prepping the Vidal Street site for full-tilt construction this summer, said Mike Hartmann, BioAmber’s executive vice-president.

The bio-succinic acid plant is expected to open November 2013.

BioAmber held a breakfast for community and industry leaders at the site of their future home Wednesday. Representatives of Mitsui & Co., a partner in the project, were also on hand.

BioAmber, now multi-million-dollar company, has humble roots, said Babette Pettersen, senior vice-president of marketing and sales. The Montreal-based company started in 2006 with two employees and a debt in the hundreds of thousands.

“It’s amazing to be where we are today – a commercial company,” she said.

BioAmber made several announcements Wednesday, including the fact it has partnered with Lambton College to possibly offer scholarships.

The company said it has won BIOTECanada’s Gold Leaf Award for Early Stage Company of the Year. And it will join the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s Responsible Care program, committing to good corporate citizenship and environmental responsibility.

Sarnia-Lambton MP Pat Davidson said the new plant is enormously important to the local economy.

“I know they will be creating a lot of well-paying, full-time jobs, something that is needed in our community right now,” she told the crowd.

The plant will create 40 full-time positions along with 250 construction jobs.

Davidson said she expects the plant, which will made succinic acid from corn, will attract more businesses to the community.

“In many ways, this approach is, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ and I’m really, really sure that’s what’s going to happen,” she said.

Jean-Francois Huc, president and CEO of BioAmber, said the company scouted 100 sites for its first North American bio-succinic acid plant. Sarnia was chosen for its location, government support, and the vision and leadership from Lanxess management.

“We want to work with the community,” Huc told the crowd. “We want to work with the First Nations.”

BioAmber has distribution in North America, Asia and Europe. Succinic acid is used in a variety of products, including plasticizers, automotive parts, disposable cutlery and cosmetics.

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