Asbury Graphite Win Highlights Rail Allies

A lead generated by The Southeastern Partnership has resulted in 25 new jobs and $8 million in industrial investment for Robeson County. In May, Asbury Graphite Mills, Inc., announced its choice of Lumberton for a new production site. The family-owned business, headquartered in Asbury, N.J., processes graphite and other minerals for use in ceramics, brake linings, LED and other industrial applications.  

Representatives of the 119-year-old firm learned of an available five-building industrial property via The Southeastern Partnership’s website. Asbury’s choice of the 30-acre site grew out of a national location search. “After a long and thorough vetting process, the site we selected in Robeson County stood head and shoulders above other sites being considered,” says Noah Nichelson, chief operating officer at Asbury Graphite Mills.

In addition to making initial contact with the company, The Southeastern Partnership assisted Robeson County leaders in assembling the financial and technical resources that made the Lumberton property the ideal fit for Asbury. “The Southeast played a major role,” says Greg Cummings, who directs the Robeson County Office of Economic Development. The Partnership helped Cummings secure financial support from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Industrial Development Fund programs.

“They also organized support for the project from the North Carolina Railroad Company and CSX Corporation,” Cummings says. Raw materials will enter Asbury’s new operations via two rail spurs. Railroad companies are thus connecting the property to the CSX mainline running from Wilmington to Charlotte. Finished product will exit the site via truck.