Micron breaks ground on $15 billion U.S. chip plant, says more to come soon

The logo of U.S. memory chip maker MicronTechnology is pictured at their booth at an industrial fair in Frankfurt

By Jane Lanhee Lee

(Reuters) - Micron Technology Inc, the biggest U.S. memory chip company, on Monday will break ground for a $15 billion factory in Boise, Idaho, and its chief executive told Reuters an announcement of another new U.S. plant will be coming soon.

“We are in final stages of another high volume manufacturing site that is going to be announced in the coming weeks,” CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said.

Both plants will produce DRAM chips that are widely used in data centers, personal computers and other devices. Once operational, U.S. plants will account for 40% of Micron’s DRAM production volume globally, up from 10% today, Mehrotra said. The Boise factory will be operational in 2025, he said.

Micron said this will be the first new memory chip factory built in the United States in 20 years, and will create 2,000 Micron jobs by the end of the decade.

Since U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Chips and Science Act, which provides $52 billion to support home grown semiconductor manufacturing, a slew of companies have announced plans to make chips in the United States.

Intel Corp on Friday broke ground on a $20 billion factory in Ohio to build cutting edge processor chips.

While Micron once made chips in Boise where it got its start, volume manufacturing has moved away and it has big production centers in places like Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

The company's core research and development operation has remained in Boise. Having manufacturing and R&D together will help accelerate the time to market, the CEO said.

Mehrotra said the U.S. investments do not represent a move away from Asian countries.

“This is not about divesting from manufacturing in any other part of the world, or bringing back manufacturing. This is about increasing,” he said.

“To meet the growing demand for memory, we have to increase our production," he said, adding that the "Chips and Science bill enables it to be increased here in the U.S.”

Micron has previously said it will be investing $150 billion through the decade, $40 billion of that in the United States. Mehrotra said that includes funds for research and development, the cost of which is increasing with advanced technologies.

(Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Bill Berkrot)