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Norwegian company seeks tax break to build Butte facility

A major Norwegian company could soon bring a manufacturing facility to Butte. (Photo: NBC Montana){p}{/p}
A major Norwegian company could soon bring a manufacturing facility to Butte. (Photo: NBC Montana)

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For the first time since the rehabilitation of the Copper King Hotel, a big-time business is seeking a major tax break to open in the Mining City.

The Norwegian company Cenate is looking to expand into the United States, and is seriously considering putting a manufacturing facility for silicon materials that make batteries more energy efficient in Butte. Company officials are hoping for a 75% tax abatement.

During Wednesday’s Council of Commissioners meeting, a representative for Cenate made their pitch for the tax break, and Butte-Silver Bow Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Rosa explained what the decision would mean from a financial standpoint.

“This abatement is only on local mills, not on state mills. So for five years they pay 25% of those local mills. And it ratchets up, so at year 10, they pay 100%,” said Rosa.

According to the presentation, the silicon battery anode materials that would be produced would allow lithium ion batteries to provide electric vehicles with greater driving range, lower battery production costs and lower the weight of the battery, as 1 kilogram of silicon would replace 5 to 7 kg of graphite.

A purchase and sale agreement was reached last week for a 40-acre parcel in the Montana Connections Industrial Park, next to the silane manufacturer REC.

Cenate continues to consider other locations in the northwest U.S. for the facility.

“Butte has given a very good impression so far. But we will wait at least several months, it could be before year end, but we haven’t decided,” said Olav Leren Moen, Cenate business development manager.

“To have a complementary company come in right next to REC, I think we need to embrace these types of development. These are the types of jobs that we need in the community,” said Commissioner Michele Shea.

A public hearing will take place in two weeks. That’s when Butte residents will have their say on the proposed abatement, but the decision will ultimately be up to the Council of Commissioners.

If the company chooses Butte, construction could start next year, with operations beginning by the end of 2025.

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