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On the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, about an hour upstream from New Orleans, the outline of Nucor Corp.’s new $750 million iron-processing plant is rising between fields of sugar cane and sweet gum trees.

Surveying the facility from the road, Michael Eades, president of Ascension Economic Development Corp., says it’s part of a wave of investment lured by low natural gas prices to this stretch of Louisiana’s industrial riverfront. Companies such as Westlake Chemical Corp., Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. and Methanex Corp. have projects in the works. Ormet Corp. reopened an alumina refinery last year, bringing back 250 jobs.

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