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ND Ethanol plant set to close

Archer Daniels Midland will close a North Dakota ethanol plant near the Manitoba border, marking the first such closure for the agribusiness giant that last month announced the elimination of 1,000 jobs.

The facility at Walhalla, N.D., about 30 km south of Winkler, Man., will permanently close in April, resulting in the loss of 61 jobs.

ADM will supply its customers with ethanol and animal feed products from its six other ethanol plants in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota, company spokeswoman Jessie McKinney said.

The North Dakota biofuel refinery is about eight km from the Canadian border and far away from the main corn-growing areas in the U.S. Midwest. It was the northernmost U.S. ethanol plant, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

“ADM determined that the Walhalla facility was not delivering sufficient returns because its geographic location and scale made it difficult to compete in the marketplace,” McKinney said.

The plant has a 30 million-gallon (113.6 million-litre) per year capacity while ADM’s six other plants have a combined capacity of about 1.72 billion gallons, McKinney said.

About 40 per cent of the U.S. corn crop is expected to be used this year in ethanol production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. †

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