Steel Mills

Ternium Mulling New EAF, Cold Mill and Coating Ops in North America: Sources

Written by Michael Cowden

Ternium is considering adding a new electric arc furnace to its operations in North America as well as downstream cold rolling and coating capability.

That’s according to sources familiar with the matter and as indiciated in recent public comments from company executives.

The most likely candidate for any new EAF would be Pesquería, Mexico – outside of Monterrey – where the Latin American steelmaker has installed a new hot strip mill.

Ternium logoBut significant investments could be made anywhere in a corridor between roughly Monterrey and Corpus Christi, Texas – on the U.S. side of the border. Key considerations would be affordable energy, deep water port access, and multi-modal freight capabilities.

The region is already popular with steelmakers. Two examples: Steel Dynamics Inc.’s new mill in Sinton, Texas, and Voestalpine’s direct-reduced iron plant in Portland, Texas.

Melting capacity in either country would meet regional content and melted-and-poured requirements that are part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

USMCA requires that 70% of a vehicle’s steel and aluminum be melted and poured in North America – which means steel made from re-rolling slabs from outside the region might not qualify for certain work.

Ternium did not respond to a request for comment for this article. But company CEO Maximo Vedoya touched on potential expansions during a third-quarter earnings conference call with analysts earlier this month.

“We are going to be USMCA compliant in six years. So, we are going to be required to expand our upstream capacity, and we are analyzing today how and where,” he said.

The company is also looking to expand downstream by adding cold-rolling and coating capacity.

The new hot strip mill in Pesquería, which made its first coil in May, “opens up … a lot of opportunities,” Vedoya said.

“Like an additional picking line, a cold rolling mill, and galvanized capacity – all are those things that we are analyzing in Mexico,” he said.

And Vedoya said investments were being considered in the U.S. as well.

“There are also other things that are in the process, where we should support the growth we have in the metal building segment platform in the south of the U.S.,” Vedoya said. “And so we should increase our pre-painting capacity we have there.”

Ternium’s primary operations are in Latin America. But it also operates a mill in Shreveport, La. – Ternium USA – that specializes in coated products, such as galvanized and Galvalume, heavily used in metal building construction.

Ternium Mexico Executive President César Jiménez said at SMU’s Steel Summit conference in August that Ternium was considering expansions in both the U.S. and Mexico.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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