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Butte competing for new battery component manufacturing plant

cenate plant.jpg
Posted at 12:21 PM, Jan 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-17 14:21:14-05

BUTTE — Butte is going to have to compete with a city in Washington state if it wants to woo a Norwegian-based company to build a plant south of Butte that will make components for lithium-ion batteries and create many good-paying jobs.

“We talk with them every couple weeks and everything is going well, so we’re very excited to continue those conversations and they’re still very interested in our community,” said Butte Community Development Director Karen Byrnes.

The company called Cenate is also interested in locating a 40,000-square-foot plant in the city of Richland, Washington. But the company first approached Butte last spring with interest in developing the plant at the Montana Connections industrial park south of Butte.

The Butte Council of Commissioners recently received an update on the project.

“We are still very much in the running and when they come, we’re going to give them the great Butte welcome and make sure they pick Butte,” said Butte Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Rosa.

Last May, Cenate officials were seeking a 75 percent tax abatement from Butte-Silver Bow as an incentive to locate here. The company plans to return to Butte this year seeking more incentives to make their decision.

“There is another tax abatement that they are going to come forward with and ask for. This is one that was put through the legislature in 2023; it is a manufacturing equipment tax abatement,” said Rosa.

Richland is also considering abatements to lure the plant. Economic officials in Butte say scoring this plant would mean bringing many well-paying jobs to Butte.

“These are these primary sectors that would be created where we would be growing our population as a result of this company locating here,” said Byrnes.