Expansion planned at Osceola steel plant

Expansion planned at Osceola steel plant

Big River Steel unveils $ 1.2 billion- dollar expansion to facility

Memphis Business Journal Less than a year and a half after beginning operations, Big River Steel is planning a billion-dollar expansion at its Arkansas steel plant.

Big River Steel initially invested $1.3 billion in its Osceola Flex Mill, a steel mini mill that produces 1.6 million tons annually of niche and specialty steels. Today the company announced it would invest another $1.2 billion into the plant, doubling the facility's hot-rolled steel production capacity.

“Our $1.2 billion expansion will further cement Big River Steel’s position as a global leader in terms of advanced manufacturing and environmental stewardship,” Big River Steel CEO Dave Stickler said. “Announcing this investment less than 18 months after beginning operations is a testament to the hard work and great success of the men and women on our team.”

The investment will also help the company produce higher grades of electrical steel; demand for that product is expected to increase with more calls for hybrid and electric vehicles and energy efficiency.

Big River is contemplating a pursuit of two other opportunities: a next-generation coating line focused on automotive applications and grain-oriented steel products.

“When Big River Steel chose Arkansas as the site of its new plant, it was the largest economic development project in the state’s history,” said Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “Our state’s pro-business climate has led to the company deciding to expand here. That means even more jobs and more investment in Arkansas.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson introduces the state's new business-friendly branding campaign, 'Arkansas Inc.'.

For the project, the Osceola City Council unanimously approved $1.5 billion in bonds.

Engineering efforts are already underway with SMS group GmbH, and major construction will begin later this year. The project is expected to take approximately 24 months.

From Mary Cashiola