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Buffalo Tungsten plans renovation; Manufacturing firm's $19 million project will add up to 45 jobs

A Depew manufacturing firm will add about 40 jobs as part of a $19 million renovation of its Main Street facility, company and development officials said Tuesday.

Buffalo Tungsten plans to hire up to 45 plant workers, technicians and engineers as part of its expansion, and construction on the project is expected to begin in a couple of months.

Company officials have begun briefing Depew and Town of Lancaster officials on the project, which is being welcomed as a major investment in the eastern suburbs.

"It's great," said Lancaster Supervisor Robert H. Giza. "They're taking an old building, and they're going to refurbish it."

Buffalo Tungsten is located at 2 Main St., in a massive industrial complex east of Transit Road that started out as home to the Gould Coupler Company and was owned for years by Dresser Industries.

Buffalo Tungsten makes tungsten and tungsten carbide powders, which are used in light bulb filaments, mining tools, medical equipment, heating elements and other products.

The company now buys its raw material, ammonium paratungstate, from China.

The completed expansion will allow the company to receive tungsten ore concentrate from places like South America, Africa, Canada and the western United States, said Ralph Showalter, Buffalo Tungsten's president.

The Buffalo Tungsten building is about 500,000 square feet, but the company only uses about 150,000 square feet of it.

Renovation work will allow the company to expand within its existing structure, Showalter said.

He said the company plans to spend between $19 million and $19.5 million on the project, which will create between 40 and 45 jobs. A few engineers already have been hired.

Showalter confirmed he is working with a Japanese partner on the project, but he would not disclose any more information about the partner at this time.

Construction could be completed a year from now, the company president said.

The issue of potential industrial discharges into the sewer system is something the company is working on with local officials.

Showalter discussed the expansion plans with Giza, Depew Mayor Steven P. Hoffman and Paul R. Leone, a consultant to the Lancaster Industrial Development Agency, Friday at Buffalo Tungsten.

The company has yet to submit an application requesting assistance from the IDA, Leone said, but the project could be eligible for sales-tax abatement on purchased materials and equipment.

Erie Community College is likely to work with Buffalo Tungsten on a training program for future employees, Giza said.

Hoffman said the village Building Department hasn't issued any permits for the project, but its representatives are continuing to do walk-throughs of the site.

He said he is happy to see a local company choose to stay here and add to its workforce, with some new employees coming from Depew and Lancaster.

"I'm sure they will be hiring right from our community," Hoffman said.

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