U.S. steel company Nucor announced last month it is planning to make its largest investment ever in a new sheet steel mill plant to be located in Mason County, West Virginia. 

The announcement is a win for the move toward green steel, as Nucor utilizes electric arc furnaces to manufacture its steel from scrap metal.

The $2.7 billion sheet steel mill plant is the largest investment in West Virginia’s history and the largest single investment Nucor has ever made. The new sheet steel mill plant will have the capacity to produce up to 3 million tons of sheet steel per year for automobiles, appliances, HVAC, heavy equipment, agriculture, transportation and construction. Once completed, the sheet steel mill will create about 800 manufacturing jobs. Construction slated for this year will create an additional 1,000 jobs.  The plant is scheduled to be operational by 2024.  At the announcement last month, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice hailed the development for creating numerous high paying jobs in the state.   

Nucor Corporation is the largest steel producer in the U.S. It is a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, NC. The company produces steel by recycling scrap metal in electric arc furnaces, making it one of the cleanest steel producers in the world and a global leader in clean steel production. Because of the volume of steel produced and scrap used, Nucor is North America’s largest recycler of any material. Through The David J. Joseph Company, Nucor brokers and processes ferrous and non-ferrous scrap.

The investment will “position West Virginia as a leader in clean steel production,” Nucor President and CEO Leon Topalian said in the announcement of the new plant. It will be “producing the most sustainable steel that will build our nation’s modern 21st century economy,” he said. Steel producers are focusing on improving the sustainability of steel production which by nature is very energy intensive. Using scrap metal in electric arc furnaces is a key component of this effort.

The mill in Mason County will be located near the Ohio River, providing the company with transportation and logistical advantages. It will improve Nucor’s ability to serve customers in the Midwest and Northeast, the largest sheet consuming regions in the U.S. 

The Nucor news is in the wake of an announcement by U.S. Steel that it is planning to build a new state of the art mini mill in Osceola, Arkansas.  According to a report last month in Industry Week, this new plant will also be able to produce up to 3 million tons of steel per year and is expected to be online by 2024. The new U.S. Steel facility will include two electric arc furnaces. 

These announcements arrive amid extended supply chain problems in which it has become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to get the finished steel they need and are part of the trend toward expansion and consolidation.  Consumer and government pressure for more green steel is another part of this equation with steel makers increasing their demand for and reliance on scrap metal. Some steel makers have stepped up efforts to acquire scrap metal recycling yards as part of this process.

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