Steel Mills

JSW USA Lays Out $1 Billion in North American Investment

Written by John Packard

So far, I have found the CRU North American Steel Conference in Chicago today to be filled with some excellent speakers and topics. There has been a considerable amount of support for the policies of President Trump, especially with Section 232 tariffs and the handling of trade negotiations with China, Mexico and Canada. Perhaps panelist JSW CEO John Hritz coined a new term for the steel industry when he called those in his company “Trumpetes” and very supportive of the president’s efforts.

Hritz, President & CEO of JSW USA, spoke at length about the amount of money the parent company is spending on their plate, pipe and tube, and Mingo Junction (JSW Ohio) operations. They expect to spend $1 billion over the next 18 months to two years. The company plans to add 1,000 jobs, 500 in both Baytown, Texas, and Mingo Junction, Ohio.

Hritz spoke about the equipment that will be installed or refurbished including:

Baytown Plate and Pipe Mills

A new Electric Arc Furnace, which will replace their need to bring in foreign plate from their parent out of India, as well as plate from Mexico and Brazil.

Their Baytown plate operation will get a new rolling mill for plate. This is expected to be installed within the next 15 months. The new mill will be twice as powerful as their existing operation.

The plate mill will get accelerated cooling, a new leveler that will be ten times more powerful, and disc-type cooling beds that will prevent marring of the plates. They will also have a transfer walking beam, monster double shears, and the cold plate leveler will be able to do one-quarter ASTM tolerances with no rework, Hritz said.

Baytown will also get a new JCO pipe mill, which will be able to make line pipe up to 2.5 inches thick.

Mingo Junction Ohio Flat Rolled Mill

The existing Electric Arc Furnace is being refurbished and is expected to restart in about a month and a half (mid-November).

Also restarting are the Ladle Metallurgy Furnace (LMF) and continuous caster.

The 80-inch hot strip mill is being completely refurbished and upgraded to a new 76-inch mill.

Other parts of the project: Completely revamp handling system to eye horizontal. Upgrade the roll shop with all new equipment. New hot rolled skin passed mill. New temper mill and pickle line.

Looking out a couple of years, the company is considering a DRI facility with up to 2 million tons of capacity, Hritz said.

Exclusion Request for Slabs

Hritz told those assembled that although they were “Trumpetes,” they have requested exclusions on the 12-inch slabs they get from their India parent company. There are no suppliers of 12-inch slabs in the United States until they finish their EAF in about 18 months.

“We have filed our rebuttals [to domestic mill objections] and we are waiting for them to rule. We are asking for exclusions for 18 months. What have we been doing, what are we doing? We are putting in new equipment and new technology. We are doing something that no one else is doing in America,” Hritz told the CRU crowd.

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