Nucor Seeks Permit to Build Louisiana Plant

Company aims to control raw materials sources with new pig iron facility

Steel recycling giant Nucor Corp. plans to invest at least $2 billion in a new Louisiana pig iron facility that could create up to 750 manufacturing jobs pending state permit and company board approval, the company said May 15.

If approved, the facility would be located in St. James Parish, about halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River. The company plans to build the plant in two phases, with the second phase costing an additional $1 billion to construct a 3-million-ton blast furnace. Nucor also would build a new high-capacity port on the river capable of handling ocean vessels and coal and pig iron barges.

The proposed plant is part of the company's plans to secure more control over its raw-materials sources, says Daniel DiMicco, chairman and CEO. The facility would produce 3 million tons of pig iron, a raw material used in the steel-making process.

The company chose the site because of Louisiana's proposed incentive package, which includes "significant infrastructure improvements," and the state's ability to move fast on the project. The Louisiana site is the only U.S. location under consideration. Sites outside the United States are still a possibility.

Over the past two years, Nucor has been searching worldwide for its new plant site. The company considered several factors, including site features, logistics, permits, incentives and governmental commitment.

Nucor's board must approve the site selection and capital investment. If that happens, the new division would be called Nucor Steel Louisiana. The project would be the first greenfield pig iron facility built in the United States in more than 30 years, according to Nucor.

The plant would utilize advanced heat-recovery coke technology that can capture waste heat and produce power, along with other emissions-reducing and energy-saving technologies.

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