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The Salt Lake Tribune

Micron: Puerto Rico Work Won't Affect Lehi Jobs

By Bob Mims

November 6, 2003
Copyright ©2003
Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Micron Technology Inc. officials scrambled Wednesday to snuff speculation that their new Puerto Rico plant might imperil what jobs there are at its largely mothballed Lehi plant.

On Tuesday, the Boise-based computer memory-chip maker announced it had broken ground for a new dynamic random access memory (DRAM) module assembly and test facility in Aguadilla for its current 200- strong Puerto Rico work force. Additional hiring will depend on the state of the memory-chip market, which continues to be sluggish.

Immediately, questions arose about the fate of Micron's 2.3- million-square-foot memory-chip manufacturing plant along Utah County's Traverse Ridge. When construction began in 1995, the Lehi complex was expected to bring 6,000 high-tech jobs to Lehi.

Instead, when the bottom dropped out of the memory-chip market, Micron completed just $700 million of the $2.5 billion project. Today, the Lehi facility employs a fluctuating work force of 500 to 600 assembling and testing chip components.

Micron spokesman Phil Martin said Wednesday that fears arose because of some news reports excluded the word "module" from their description of the Puerto Rico work.

"That is the key word here, module. We have those types of facilities all around the world. Memory module assembly is just one of many stages in making DRAMs," he said. "In other words, in no way will the work being done in Puerto Rico affect the work in Lehi at all."

Memory module assembly -- in which individual chips are put into the rectangular, ready-to-snap-into-place form most personal computer users are familiar with -- has been under way at a leased facility in the U.S. island territory since early this year.

Other module assembly operations are in Boise and Nampa, Idaho; Scotland; Singapore; and China, Martin said.

Such module assembly facilities are scattered throughout the world in order to better meet regional memory demands, he said.

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