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updated: 1/28/2014 5:19 PM

Firm to choose between Illinois, Iowa for plant

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- A decision could come within months on whether Cronus Chemical LLC will build a $1.1 billion fertilizer plant in Illinois or Iowa, company officials say.

"We're making good progress," John Kinnamon, an Oklahoma-based consultant for Cronus said Monday.

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However, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports a draft contract shows the Cronus Chemical project might not get underway until December 2015. The contract is between Cronus and the Urbana and Champaign Sanitary District.

Cronus has been debating between a location in Tuscola in eastern Illinois and a site in Mitchell County in north-central Iowa. Both states are hoping to land the plant's 200 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction positions.

The company previously said it delayed its decision on where to locate because of engineering issues.

"In a project of this size, there are thousands of details that make for a successful project. Before final decisions are made, Cronus is working to ensure this project is positioned for success," Cronus spokesman David Lundy noted in an email.

Cronus' proposed plant is one of at least 20 massive fertilizer plants being proposed across North America, a wave driven in part by growing supplies of natural gas. Natural gas is a key component in the manufacture of nitrogen-based fertilizers like those used heavily on Midwestern corn and soybean farms.

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