Steel Mills

Big River Steel is "Open for Business"

Written by John Packard

Mark Bula, the Commercial Director for Big River Steel made it official at our 6th Steel Summit Conference proclaiming Big River Steel as “open for business.”

Bula, who was speaking on a panel on Innovation and the future of the steel industry, reported that the mill will begin producing their first hot rolled coil for commercial orders in December 2016. Cold rolled orders are anticipated to begin in January and galvanized in March 2017.

Big River Steel is the first “Flex Mill” which means that the mill has the ability to produce a “wide product mix and superior grade capabilities of an integrated mill with the nimbleness and technological advancements of a mini mill.”

Bula told the attendees at the Steel Summit Conference, “Big River is not a typical steel mill, we want to be different. Really, what it is all about is innovation and challenging our industry on the way we do things. Flex mill meets niche needs that are underserved in the United States in order to keep manufacturing here in the States. We are scoping out projects right now years ahead. I know we are not even making steel yet but it takes years to develop [new] products.”

He identified the investors in the mill as being Koch Industries with 40 percent, Arkansas Teachers Retirement Fund, GPP, Correnti estate and Ross Perot. There are also a number of European banks.

Bula told the group, “Regarding Capacity, it is not about over capacity it is about having the right capacity.”

He went on to say, “The commercial team is in place at Big River Steel and I would like to say we are open for business, ready to start talking about getting your orders on our books. The credit application packet will be on our website soon. Everything you will need is completed and ready to get to our customers.”

The hot rolled product coming online in December will have a thickness range of .054” on the light side to 1.0” thick on the heavy side. The widths will be 36 inches to 78 inches.

Big River Steel will be the only North American mill to connect an EAF (electric arc furnace) with a Ruhrstahl-Herraeus (RH) degasser which is able to achieve “world class carbon and nitrogen levels that are required by more advanced products.”

The mill will also be able to melt a very high percentage of HBI (to 80 percent maybe as much as 100 percent) instead of scrap in order to make AHSS and other high grades of steel.

Steel Market Update will conduct one of our Steel 101 workshops in Memphis, Tennessee on November 15th and 16th and we will tour the Big River Steel mill just as it is about ready to make their first commercial coils. This is truly a unique opportunity to see a brand new mill from the ground up. You can find more details about the workshop on our website:

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