Steel Products

Big River Steel Project Announced by Arkansas Governor & John Correnti

Written by John Packard

As if the south is not already flooded with flat rolled steel mills, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Big River Steel CEO John Correnti announced earlier today that if the bonds are approved by the Arkansas legislature a new $1 billion steel mill will be built in Arkansas. Details were lacking regarding the type of mill to be built – other than a statement saying the mill would be producing steels for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries – industries which use flat rolled and electrical steels.  Calls to John Correnti and Big River Steel were not returned by the time we went to publication.

The Big River Steel plant is reported to be 23 miles from Nucor’s Hickman facility and 223 miles from US Steel Fairless Works.  Also in the area are Severstal Columbus and the ThyssenKrupp Calvert, Alabama mill which is currently being offered for sale by the parent company at a loss.

Here is a copy of the press release.

Big River Steel, LLC today announced plans to build a more than $1 billion steel mill in Mississippi County, Arkansas that will directly employ more than 500 people with annual average compensation of $75,000 a year.

The plans are contingent on approval by the legislature authorizing the state to issue $125 million in general obligation bonds under the authority of Amendment 82 and all necessary regulatory approvals. As required by the Amendment, Governor Mike Beebe will be referring the project to the legislature for its consideration.

This is the first time Amendment 82 has been triggered since its adoption during the November 2004 general election. It allows the state legislature to approve up to 5 percent of the state’s general revenue budget to be used for bonding of super economic development projects.

John Correnti is Big River Steel’s chief executive officer and heads a group of investors backing the project.

“Having lived in Arkansas for over 20 years and having been involved in building and operating two other world class steel mills in the state, I know first-hand that the quality of the work force in Arkansas is outstanding and well suited for the high-paying jobs we intend to create,” said Correnti. “Arkansas’s geographic location in the heart of the markets we intend to serve, the state’s well-developed transportation infrastructure as well as the availability of reliable electrical power and the ‘can do attitude’ of the government officials in Little Rock, Mississippi County and Osceola make Arkansas a great place for Big River Steel to make its investment.”

“A project of this scope will be a catalyst for job creation, investment and economic development beyond this one facility,” Governor Beebe said. “Building Big River Steel will mean up to 2,000 construction jobs, and it will help us recruit more supplier businesses and steel consumers to Northeast Arkansas.”

Big River will produce steel for the automotive, oil and gas and electrical energy industries. Construction of the mill will take approximately 20 months from ground breaking which is expected later this year.

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