AMERICAN FALLS — Hopes for the new Magnida fertilizer plant near American Falls remain alive and the company renewed its special use permit with Power County this month, according to Kristen Jensen, executive director of the Great Rift Business Development Organization.

The Great Rift organization was formed in 2006 to promote existing businesses in Power County and to recruit new development.

“The state air quality permits and water rights are also still in place,” Jensen said. “They (Magnida officials) are still working furiously to secure funding.”

The project, which would use natural gas to produce nitrogen fertilizer, would be located west of American Falls near the Lamb-Weston potato processing plant. The cost to complete the project has been estimated at $2.5 billion. KBR Inc. was named the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the Magnida plant last August.

“A total of $40 million in development capital has already been committed,” Jensen said.

What Magnida is trying to secure is a total investment commitment of $900 million.

“They do have a bank on board that will finance the loan,” Jensen said about the balance needed to complete the project.

Since taking over the project which was initially proposed as an electrical generation facility back in 2008, Magnida has focused on fertilizer production at the site. The initial company, Refined Energy Holdings, folded. But the project was taken over by I Squared Capital, a New York City-based firm founded by former executives of Morgan Stanley in 2013, according to ammoniaindustry.com.

If the plant becomes fully operational, Magnida has stated it would employ about 175 people.

In 2014, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter became personally involved in a dispute over the state air permits for the fertilizer plant that was contested by ConAgra Foods, the parent company for Lamb-Weston.

The issue was resolved and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality issued Magnida the necessary permit.