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Meeting to discuss silicon plant project

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IUKA, Miss. (AP) — A North Carolina group plans a meeting Saturday in Iuka to call on local residents to press state regulators to hold a hearing on what it believes is health risks connected to a silicon metal plant under construction in Tishomingo County.

Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, located in Graham, North Carolina, told WTVA-TV in Tupelo (http://bit.ly/1qVWar1 ) that the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality issued the permit for construction to Mississippi Silicon before receiving final air quality analysis.

The group said the report includes information on polluting air emissions coming from submerged arc furnaces that burn coal, wood, and quartz.

Construction of Mississippi Silicon's plant in Burnsville is underway. The facility is expected to be completed and begin operations in the next 12 to 18 months. Company officials expect to employ 210 people.

MDEQ officials stood by the issuance of the permit in February after a company in Alabama raised questions about the environmental impact of the plant. Officials said the permit meets requirements under state law and protects the public and the environment.

BREDL will hold the meeting Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Homestead Restaurant in Iuka.

Rima Holdings USA Inc. owns 80 percent of Mississippi Silicon. It's an affiliate of Rima Industrial SA in Brazil, a metals and casting firm. The other 20 percent is owned by Clean Tech I LLC, a domestic investor group led by John Correnti, who led the effort to build the steel mill in Columbus that is now Severstal.

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Information from: WTVA-TV, http://www.wtva.com

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