GRAND FORKS-A company that plans to build a $2.5 billion fertilizer plant near Grand Forks has applied for a six-month extension for several permits.

Northern Plains Nitrogen (NPN) has sent a letter of intent to the city to extend its water and discharge permits, NPN Chief Operations Officer Larry Mackie said Wednesday. The city will provide water to the plant, which is expected to be built on a 320-acre site northwest of Grand Forks.

The plant was first announced in 2013, but the timeline for construction has not been set. There have been delays in the project as NPN tries to gather support from investors. A depressed agricultural economy has made it difficult to woo potential supporters, Mackie said. He declined to say what percentage of funds has been raised for the project, citing confidentiality agreements.

"The farm economy has been terrible lately," he said. "It's been a difficult time to raise money for agricultural projects."

Still, he said the company is optimistic the project will happen. Costs to build the plant have gone down and the company can take advantage of low-cost gas to make fertilizer, he said.

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"We're still going full speed ahead," he said of making moves to attract investors.

The plant is slated to create 140 jobs, Mackie said.