August 1, 2007 Edition

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Open forum held at Hoxie

David Luter speaks to a group of Lawrence County residents during an open forum meeting for Natural Fuels LLC and a proposed bio diesel facility in Clay County.
Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Representatives from Natural Fuels LLC, spoke at a public meeting at Hoxie last Tuesday evening, updating residents on the progress of a bio diesel plant planned in Clay County.

"The plant will benefit citizens from not just Clay County, but all of Northeast Arkansas," said David Luter, chair of the plant's interim board.

Luter and other members of the board discussed their 11-step plan for commercializing the bio diesel fuel plant including a feasibility analysis, which has already been completed, a site analysis, marketing and business plans, engineering, financing, construction and initial operations.

In the feasibility study, conducted by Frazier and Barnes, the plant scored an 87.4. Anything over 75 percent is a go, according to Luter.

"This is a 100 percent risk investment in Phase I," Luter said, " but Phase I also has the highest return rate, which will be three times that of Phase III."

Shares, or units, are currently being offered at $10,000 each, which buys the investor a percentage of the company. Money from initial investments will be used to hire a permanent board. The engineering and construction cannot begin until that time.

The plan is to build a crushing facility along with a 10-million gallon bio diesel facility with expansion capability that will be flexible for soybean, canola and corn oils, as well as animal fats.

"The oils that we can't process, we can sell to other bio diesel companies that need it," Luter said.

The company plans to sell everything that comes out of the plant so that optimal profits are made.

The project has a total estimated cost of $50 million.

"Investor groups have already contacted us looking to invest," Luter said, "but we want to give locals the first opportunity."

All products processed in the plant will come from farms within 60 miles of the facility, which includes all the land in Lawrence County.

"This is an economic plus for this region as a whole," said Don Losing of Frazier and Barnes.

For more information on the project, contact Barry Sellers of the Corning Area Chamber of Commerce at 870-857-3874 or Gina Davis of the Clay County Electrical Cooperative at 870-857-3521.

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