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Gov. Kemp, secretary of commerce joins SK Innovation for groundbreaking on $1.67 billion factory
Jackson County facility expected to bring 2,000 jobs
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A group of dignitaries including U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp all help place the dot under an exclamation point Tuesday, March 19, 2019, as Korean company SK Innovation hosts a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off its $1.67 billion investment and construction of a new battery manufacturing plant in Jackson County, Georgia. - photo by Scott Rogers

Launching what should be a long partnership, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Gov. Brian Kemp joined SK Innovation on Tuesday to break ground on what’s billed as Georgia’s largest single foreign investment.

SK Innovation, a Korean developer and manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, initiated the construction of its $1.67 billion new electric vehicle battery factory located on 1523 Steve Reynolds Industrial Parkway in Commerce.    

The facility will generate 2,000 jobs by 2025.

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks Tuesday, March 19, 2019, during Korean company SK Innovation's groundbreaking ceremony in Jackson County. The event kicks off a $1.67 billion investment and construction of a new battery manufacturing plant in Jackson County. - photo by Scott Rogers

Ross said that in 2018 360,000 new electric vehicles were sold in the U.S., which amounts to an 80 percent increase from last year’s total. Globally he said electric vehicle sales surged to more than 2 million units last year, and are projected to reach nearly 4 million in 2020.

“You only have to look at SK’s operations, from telecom to semiconductors, to chemicals and energy, to know that this global leader has embraced the new dynamic,” Ross said. “Innovative products and the processes to make these products are revitalizing the U.S. economy, which is growing faster and creating more jobs than it has in decades before.”

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Korean company SK Innovation hosts a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, March 19, 2019, to kick off its $1.67 billion investment and construction of a new battery manufacturing plant in Jackson County, Georgia. From the left, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, SK executive vice chairman Chey Jae Wan and U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, participate in a traditional Korean ceremonial performance during the event. - photo by Scott Rogers

He said the direct jobs at SK Innovation’s battery factory will produce thousands of others in supply chains and services not only in Georgia, but throughout the country.

Kemp relayed the company’s plans to donate $60,000 toward Commerce City Schools to support Science, Technology, the Arts, Engineering and Mathematics programs for all grade levels.

“We are humbled by SK’s investment in our students, workers and our state’s future and look forward to years of collaboration to ensure our best days are ahead,” Kemp said.

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Visitors attend SK Innovation's groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, March 19, 2019, to kick off its $1.67 billion investment and construction of a new battery manufacturing plant in Jackson County, Georgia. - photo by Scott Rogers

More than 200 guests, international and U.S. leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony, including Executive Vice President of SK Group Jae-Won Chey, CEO and President of SK Innovation Jun Kim, members of congress and state legislators.

J. Clark Hill, the mayor of Commerce, said he has no doubt that SK Innovations will change the lives and landscapes in Georgia.

Hill presented a proclamation on behalf of the Commerce City Council to Kim and Yoon Ye-seon, president of the company’s battery business. The proclamation expresses the city’s gratitude toward the company and formally welcomes the battery factory to Commerce.

“We’re family now and I think you heard that from many of the speakers today,” Hill said. “I want to welcome you all into the Commerce family and for choosing us to be your partner in this incredible opportunity. I say thank you very much (in Korean) — gamsahamnida.”


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