Hoče – The Environment Agency issued a preliminary environmental approval this week for an expansion of the factory of the automotive giant Magna near Maribor. The document has been sent to the planing authorities, while archaeologists are already inspecting the site.
According to the Environment Agency, Magna’s application will now be reviewed, whereupon a public consultation will follow involving environmental and other groups, and then an environmental approval can be issued as a precondition for a construction permit.
It seems that the Canadian-Austrian group, which already has a paint shop in Hoče, thus plans to carry out the second phase of the Hoče project despite delays caused by the epidemic, as archaeologists are already on the site.
The Hoče-Slivnica municipality has bought about ten hectares of land from more than a hundred owners with the help of the state a while ago. Two owners were expropriated.
In line with the municipal budget proposal, which is to be adopted next week, the land will be sold to the investor. This year’s planned revenue include almost EUR 1 million from sale of land.
Magna confirmed for the STA that a preliminary environmental approval was ready. It said it planned to build two main buildings, a plant for bodywork production and anther for vehicle assembly.
With the existing paint shop, Magna will thus have capacity for all-round car production in Hoče, which has been the main goal of its Slovenia venture, the group added.
It also confirmed that archaeological works were under way at the site, noting this was slightly sooner than planned because they want to be ready for new projects as soon as possible. That is why the land will also be purchased soon.
Meanwhile, the paint shop in Hoče was laid still in the spring due to the coronavirus epidemic, and some 160 of its employees have been working in Graz since.
Magna has not decided yet when they could return to Hoče, saying this depended on the epidemiological situation, recovery of the global automotive market and orders. It has, however, extended the workers’ contracts until the end of the year.
Since currently more than 1,000 Slovenian workers work at its Graz factory, mostly driving there on a daily basis, Magna has decided to pay for their weekly PCR tests required under the latest border restrictions.
Magna has not made a final decision yet where it will start producing the new Fisker Ocean, an electric SUV, in the second half of the year. A decision is expected around June.