Project Jackson Turns Into 45 Jobs for Moses Lake from AstaReal

By Cameron Probert  Monday, July 15, 2013, iFiber One News

A company producing an anti-oxidant supplement is coming to Moses Lake.

Fuji Chemical Industry and its subsidiary, AstaReal Technologies, announced Monday they plan on opening a plant to produce astaxanthin. The companies plan to invest $30 million and expect to employ 45 people to produce the nutritional supplement.

The company began eying the Moses Lake area in 2012, making it one of the quickest projects the Grant County Economic Development Council has worked on, stated Jonathan Smith, the EDC’s executive director.

“Through the combined effort of all involved in the project the local community and state were able to help the project become a reality in such a short time,” Smith stated.

The project was codenamed “Jackson” for the past year while the entities worked to finish the deal.

The company chose Moses Lake after conducting a nation-wide search. It chose Moses Lake primarily because of the water resources and the availability of low-cost electricity, according to the company’s announcement. Other factors included having a skilled labor force, a history of working with other Japanese companies and supportive local and state governments.

Mitsunori Nishida, president and CEO of Fuji Chemical Industry, stated company officials see the nutritional supplement as a way of making people healthier and happier.

“Astaxanthin is an effective anti-inflammatory agent for living organisms,” Nishida stated. “We believe that preventive medicine will play an even greater role in future of healthcare as advances in anti-aging and lifestyle disease research drive improvements both in the treatment and prevention of disease and illness.”

The company produces astaxanthin using photo-bioreactors to cultivate microalgae. AstaReal began developing the technology in the 1990s. The microalgae are used to produce the supplement.

“We have succeeded in realizing the world’s first industrial production of natural astaxanthin which is both safe and high in antioxidant potency,” Nishida stated.

Grant County, the City and Port of Moses Lake and the Washington Department of Commerce worked with Fuji for the last year to help secure the manufacturing facility for the city.

“We are pleased that Fuji and AstaReal have decided to make Moses Lake and Grant County the home of this one-of-a-kind manufacturing process,” Moses Lake Mayor Bill Ecret stated.

The company plans to start operating in the third quarter of 2014, and will hire most of its 45 person workforce locally. The hiring will include operators, quality control, maintenance and administration.

“We are honored to be a community member of Grant County and the City of Moses Lake,” Nishida stated. “We believe that this community will experience significant growth and want to contribute to this future development. This $30 million investment shows our strong commitment to the future of this community.”

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