LONOKE — Remington Arms Co. broke ground here Thursday on a $32 million expansion that the company said should generate about 60 new jobs.

The expansion will include construction of a new building and is expected to be in operation by the middle of next year, producing more ammunition to meet high consumer demand, the company said.

Remington, based in Madison, N.C., is the nation’s oldest gun maker. The plant in Lonoke opened in 1969 and the company currently employs about 1,300 workers in the state.

"As we strive to create new relationships with new partners, we must never forget the ones we already have," Gov. Mike Beebe said during Thursday’s event. "It is so much easier to expand existing business than it is to create new ones."

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who also attended the event, said Remington has been an economic in Arkansas for years, "and this (expansion) will allow them to bring even more jobs and development to Central Arkansas."

Remington unveiled its plans to expand the Lonoke plant earlier this year.