Steel Mills

Nucor Picks West Virginia for New 3M tpy EAF Sheet Mill

Written by Michael Cowden

Nucor Corp. has confirmed that its greenfield, $2.7 billion electric arc furnace (EAF) sheet mill will be built in West Virginia.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker said the mill, expected to have capacity of three million tons per year, would be located in Mason County along the Ohio River.

NucorAdditional sites in northern West Virginia are also being considered for a transload and processing facility, the company said in a press release on Wednesday.

Construction is expected to take two years pending permit and regulatory approvals. And the mill, once complete, is expected to employ approximately 800 full-time workers, Nucor said.

SMU reported on Tuesday that West Virginia was the likely location of the new mill. Local media reports had suggested that both Mason County and Weirton – or the panhandle region generally speaking – were being considered by Nucor. Mason County, which has both highway and river access, will give Nucor transportation advantages and the ability to efficiently serve customers in both the Midwest and Northeast.

“We are thrilled to make this significant investment in West Virginia and enhance our presence in this important region,” Nucor President and Chief Executive Officer Leon Topalian said in a statement.

“Our new sheet mill in Mason County will have unmatched capabilities that will enable the continued expansion of high-quality, low carbon steels, building on our industry-leading offerings,” he added.

The West Virginia mill will be able to make sheet up to 84 inches wide. It will also sport a 76-inch tandem cold mill and two galvanizing lines: one for construction grades and another for high-end automotive applications, Nucor said.

The mix will be weighted toward value-added products. The mill is expected to make 1.1 million tons of galvanized product per year, 800,000 tons of cold-rolled products annually, 750,000 tons of hot-rolled coil, and 350,000 tons of pickled and oiled (P&O) material, Nucor said when it announced the mill in September.

It will in addition have a lower carbon footprint than the integrated mills that have traditionally served the Northeast and the Midwest, the company said.

EAF mills don’t require the carbon intensive coking process associated with integrated steelmaking.

Local media had reported that the announcement would be made by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice during a “State of the State” speech originally scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST.

“This rocket ship ride is far from over – tune in to hear what amazing things are coming to WV this year,” Justice wrote in a Tweet on Tuesday.

But the governor later tested positive for COVID-19 and said that he was feeling “extremely unwell.” The governor’s office said he would therefore send a written message to the West Virginia legislature, instead of delivering a live speech, to meet constitutional requirements.

Nucor has been growing rapidly in the sheet space including a big expansion in the works at Nucor Steel Gallatin in Ghent, Ky. – which is expected to increase the mill’s hot-rolled capacity from 1.6 million tons per year to 3 million tpy – as well as its acquisition of California Steel Industries (CSI).

It has been a big week for new mill announcements in general.

U.S. Steel announced on Tuesday that it will build a new, $3 billion electric arc furnace sheet mill in Osceola, Ark., near its existing Big River Steel operations. The combined facility will form a “mega mill” with combined total capacity of 6.3 million tons per year, the Pittsburgh-based steelmaker said.

The news from Nucor and U.S. Steel also occurs against the backdrop of Steel Dynamics Inc.’s anticipated ramp up of its new 3 million tpy sheet mill in Sinton, Texas.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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