Micron scores $6.1B CHIPS Act cash for New York and Idaho fabs

Memorymaker to park mega plant in Syracuse, says senator

Memory chipmaker Micron looks set to be the next recipient of US government subsidy cash with $6.1 billion heading its way to help fund new-build semiconductor plants.

The Boise, Idaho company is one of the three largest memory chip suppliers in the world, so was always a prime candidate for Washington's CHIPS and Science Act handouts aimed at boosting semiconductor production on US soil.

Now, a report in the Associated Press claims that Micron's award has been confirmed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. He is Senator for New York State, where Micron plans to build a "mega fab" for memory chip production.

"It will be the biggest memory chip plant in America," Schumer said. "For the Syracuse area, this is the best thing that's happened probably since the Erie Canal."

The newswire also claims to have confirmation from a senior Biden administration official who requested anonymity, as the award is understood to be due for official announcement next week.

We asked the US Department of Commerce and Micron for comment, but neither was available to respond at the time of publication.

Micron disclosed its plans in 2022 to invest $100 billion over a 20-year period into a chip fabrication plant to be sited near the town of Clay in Onondaga County, New York. The company claimed at the time it would cover a total of 2.4 million square feet (222,967 square meters), approximately the size of 40 US football fields (or 55 British ones.)

The first $20 billion phase of investment in this mega fab is scheduled for later this decade, with Micron said to be getting additional local support in the shape of $5.5 billion over the life of the project from the state of New York, and the town of Clay and Onondaga County offering what is termed "key infrastructure support."

Micron has also begun construction of another US memory production facility alongside its research and development site at the Boise, Idaho headquarters. The company hailed this as the nation's first new memory manufacturing fab in 20 years, and said it aims to spend $15 billion on bringing the site into use. Cleanroom space in the new fab is expected to come online in phases starting in 2025, with DRAM production ramping up over the second half of this decade.

The news of Micron's award follows a string of similar announcements from the Commerce Department. This month, Samsung scored $6.4 billion to expand its Texas operations, while TSMC landed $6.6 billion in direct funding and an allowance for $5 billion in loans for fabs it is building in Arizona. Last month, it was announced that Intel is to get $8.5 billion in direct funding and up to $11 billion in loans.

This week, Micron revealed it has begun mass producing 232-layer QLC NAND flash chips, claiming to be the first memory manufacturer to break the 200-layer mark. The company also announced revenue of $5.82 billion for its fiscal Q2 2024 ended February 29, up more than 50 percent year-on-year as the industry recovers from a slump in memory demand.

However, Micron also faces an inquiry into the potential impact on the local environment of its proposed New York mega fab. The scrutiny is set to come from the US Army Corps of Engineers as a condition associated with the company’s application for CHIPS and Science Act funding. ®

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