US Steel examines condition for $ 3 billion plant
US Steel Corp. is considering locations in Arkansas and Alabama for a new $ 3 billion steel plant, the company said Friday.
The mini-plant will combine two electric arc furnaces, which mainly use scrap steel and are much more energy efficient than traditional integrated coal-fired power plants. The company plans to start construction in the first half of 2022 and start production in 2024.
The steel giant’s board of directors has authorized an exploratory site selection process for the location of the mini-steel plant, the statement said. Potential locations include Alabama and Arkansas, where US Steel has existing EAF operations as well as entirely new sites.
US Steel Corp. CEO David Burritt told the Wall Street Journal that the site had not been selected but that Arkansas and Alabama were under consideration.
US Steel is the relatively new owner of Big River Steel, which in 2013 helped support and develop the steel industry in Arkansas and, more specifically, in Mississippi County when it built a “factory. flexible â$ 1.3 billion near Osceola which employs more than 500. About 15 months later, it announced plans for a $ 1.2 billion expansion.
“We welcome the opportunity to compete for statewide business expansion plans that will lead to more well-paying jobs for the Arkansans,” spokesperson Chelsea O’Kelley said on Friday. from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “However, according to agency protocol, we do not comment on specific projects.”
Clif Chitwood, director of the Mississippi County Economic Development Commission, said, âAs my friends at AEDC always say, we can’t confirm or deny. Mississippi County has proven to be a hospitable and profitable place for steel production for two decades and we want to keep doing that. “
About 3,000 people in the county are directly employed by steel producers such as Nucor Corp., which began operations in Mississippi County in 1988, and US Steel. At least 1,200 more are employed by other steel-related companies and suppliers.
Chitwood estimated that 40% of the workers directly employed by the factories are residents of Mississippi County. âAlmost 100% of the jobs that power factories and the jobs of all steel companies and affiliates are held by residents here,â Chitwood said.
US Steel’s announcement comes as domestic steel futures prices have more than tripled in the past year. The plan to build a new steel plant is the latest sign that steelmakers are increasingly comfortable with persistently higher prices.
While the increase in production has produced a boon for domestic suppliers, it is driving up the cost of everything from automobiles to wind turbines to kitchen appliances as the world recovers from the pandemic.
The company also estimated that it would post a record third quarter profit on the strength of prices, which will allow it to reduce its debt.
The benefits of higher prices are felt throughout the industry. Earlier Thursday, Nucor Inc., America’s largest steelmaker, said it expects record profits through the end of the year, and Steel Dynamics Inc. on Wednesday forecast fourth-quarter profits to be higher than its previous forecasts.
US Steel characterized the planned plant, which is expected to produce 3 million tonnes of flat-rolled steel products, as part of efforts to meet its 2030 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 20% , according to the press release.
Information for this article was provided by Stephen Steed of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Yvonne Yue Li and David Marino of Bloomberg News.