BlueOak Resources is a San Francisco startup that's building an urban mining refinery in Osceola, Arkansas, according to the San Francisco Gate. BlueOak is working with a consortium, which includes the Arkansas Teachers' Retirement Fund and the Arkansas Development Finance Authority to get the project off the ground.
Right now, 50 million tons of e-waste is generated each year around the world, but only 15 percent of it's being recycled, the San Francisco Gate reported. Most electronics get sent to landfills, and the many recycling centers available in China and India lack environmental safety procedures so the waste pollutes the soil, water and air. Canada and Europe have better environmental safety procedures than in China and India, but U.S. companies would have to pay to ship their e-waste to them.
BlueOak and its financial partners are investing $35 million into the facility, which is the first of its kind in the U.S., according to Area Development. The plant will be retrieve previous metals such as gold, silver, copper and palladium from electronic waste like circuit boards, cellphones and more. Initially, it will process approximately 15 million pounds of electronics per year, the San Francisco Gate reported.
The Heartland Renaissance Fund, National New Market Fund and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation worked together to provide BlueOak with the New Markets Tax Credit financing, which was created to promote growth in rural areas, according to Area Development.
"The United States is building a domestic supply chain to tackle the challenges presented by e-waste, and Arkansas has the talent pool and business environment to attract the cutting-edge companies like BlueOak that will comprise that supply chain," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said. "This facility highlights our commitment to bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and back to Arkansas."
Production at the plant should begin by the end of 2015 and create 50 new jobs.
Businesses building new facilities in the U.S. and forming new jobs should work with technology recruiters to find the most qualified candidates for their open positions.