Kemp tours new battery plant that aims to create thousands of jobs in Georgia

JACKSON COUNTY, Ga. — The largest foreign investment in state history is now moving forward in northeast Georgia.

SK Battery, a Korean company, will invest billions and create thousands of jobs at their plant site in Commerce.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach is in Jackson County, where the governor just took a tour of the nearly 300-acre site off I-85.

Kemp met the SEO and SK leadership and got a tour of the one plant that is already finished and just starting to ramp up production. Phase two right next to it is still under construction.

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The fight to move forward with the factory after a battle with the company’s competitor is now over.

“There was never a doubt that we were going to get this done,” Kemp said. “We have stood with them and we’re going to continue to stand with them.”

The company makes batteries to power the growing number of electric vehicles in the U.S. The plant broke ground in Georgia two years ago. Initially, SK promised nearly two billion invested and 2,500 new jobs by the end of 2023.

On Monday, SK CEO Jun Kim spoke publicly for the first time, saying those numbers will double with up to $5 million invested and thousands more jobs created.

“By 2025 if we complete phase 2 construction we expect around 6,000 jobs to be created,” Kim said through an interpreter.

Those manufacturing jobs are high-tech and high-paying in green energy. Kemp said the plant was worth fighting for because they knew the potential and the many more indirect jobs that will follow.

“This is demand that’s coming, investment the company has made, workforce we have in the state, business friendly environment…We fully expect to get to that 6-7000 jobs just here on site,” Kemp said.

Kemp thinks the impact will be similar to the Kia plant in West Point on the other side of the state that helped create or support 14,000 jobs over the past decade.

Only about 250 people are working at the plant on one shift now. That will jump to 1,000 by the end of the year, but 10 times that to 2,500 two years later.

The company is currently hiring.

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