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Eutaw Clears 1,400 Acres for Steel Plant

Tue December 13, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Maybelle G. Cagle

Eutaw Construction of Aberdeen, MS, is used to moving millions of cubic yards of dirt in a short time.

As a contractor for SeverCorr, a start-up company led by a longtime steel industry executive, Eutaw is excavating 4 million cu. yds. in approximately 120 days.

“That’s excellent in Mississippi,” said Tom Elmore, president of Eutaw Construction.

He added, “We have dedicated employees, which I am very proud of. Without our supervisors, Randy Edwards and Tobby Turner along with their team of operators, laborers and other staff, we couldn’t be successful.”

Elmore’s company began dirt work Oct. 3 and it has four months to complete the original contract, weather permitting.

“A substantial amount of the mass site work will be completed by late December. Other portions of the contract could go on for up to nine months,” said Richard Painter, vice president of construction of SeverCorr.

Construction of the steel mill will take approximately 21 months. The $880-million plant is being constructed on approximately 1,400 acres adjacent to The Golden Triangle Regional Airport in Lowndes County.

The mill site near Columbus is within a day’s drive of a dozen southern auto manufacturing sites including a Nissan plant in Mississippi and Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz plants in Alabama.

Under the contract with SeverCorr, Eutaw Construction also is responsible for on-site rail grade, drainage and storm water retention ponds.

“The time schedule is a big challenge,” Elmore said.

The company was awarded the job after a competitive bid process. The contract is for $13 million and SeverCorr is providing all fuels and materials, according to Elmore. The company is using Cat scrapers, large Cat dozers, Komatsu dozers and Komatsu track hoes on the job, all of which are owned by the company.

According to Elmore, the excavated dirt will remain on site. He said 1.3 million cu. yds. of dirt is for fill areas and the balance is being stockpiled.

“Only sand, gravel and stone is being delivered,” Elmore said.

Approximately 100 people are being used on the SeverCorr project working 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

Large dirt-moving jobs are nothing new to Eutaw Construction. Elmore said his workers moved 2.2 million cu. yds. of dirt in 40 working days for the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Troy, AL. And for a job at the Nissan site in Canton, MS, the company moved 1.4 million cu. yds. of dirt in 50 working days.

Elmore and a small group of investors established Eutaw Construction Co. Inc. in March 1980.

The company owns 35 Caterpillar scrapers and all of the proper support equipment necessary for moving large quantities of dirt. Eutaw can move between 50,000 and 100,000 cu. yds. of dirt per day depending on the length of haul, site conditions and type of material.

Elmore said his company will bid on other packages on this project as they become available.

“There will not be a general contractor for the project. SeverCorr will manage the project and work directly with the equipment suppliers, engineering firms and installation contractors,” said Richard Painter, vice president of construction.

He added, “There will be several on-site contractors involved in foundation installation, steel erection, process equipment erection, power distribution, piping, etc. SeverCorr will hire the contractors and provide them with prints and materials to perform the installation of the various areas of the facility. Each contractor must qualify to perform the work based on very strict contract, insurance and financial criteria.”

Painter said contractors may be awarded several packages related to the project.

Associated Brigham Contractors (ABC) based in Brigham City, UT, has been selected to fabricate reinforcing steel bar (rebar) for the project and install the cold mill building foundations. ABC has performed work on several steel mill projects.

“Coordination of steel mill equipment suppliers, engineering firms and installation contractors, as with any project, is the key to a successful project,” Painter said.

He said it isn’t unusual for a company to construct a project without a general contractor.

“John Correnti [president and chief executive officer], Eddie Lehner [executive vice president and chief financial officer], Michael Wagner [executive vice president and chief commercial officer], LeRoy Prichard [vice president of technology], Clint Carver [manager of construction] and I have all worked for Nucor Steel, which built several mills using the same method of construction,” he added.

High-Grade Steel

to Be Produced

“The new facility being designed and installed is a state-of-the-art steel making plant to produce the highest grade steel product, exposed automotive steel. The Compact Strip Plant, an innovative continuous steel coil producing plant, developed by SMS-Demag, is the heart of the plant producing a high quality coil for further processing into an exposed automotive grade product,” Painter said.

He added, “The coil is then cleaned in an acid bath and reduced to the desired steel thickness in a five stand cold mill [tandem cold mill]. To achieve exposed automotive surface finish quality a tandem cold mill is required. This coil is then conveyed to an automotive grade Continuous Galvanizing Line [CGL], to complete the production of an exposed automotive steel coil.”

Painter said the project is comprised of three distinct process areas totaling approximately 27 acres of buildings. They include: the melt shop, which encompasses approximately 204,400 sq. ft. or approximately 4.7 acres; the hot strip mill, which encompasses approximately 248,600 sq. ft. or 5.7 acres and the finishing, or col mill, which encompasses about 701,450 sq. ft. or 16.1 acres.

“Water conservation and quality is very important in the manufacturing process of making steel. SeverCorr will install two deep wells for process make-up water on the site to supply the seven cooling water loops.

“These seven loops are comprised of two wastewater systems and one make-up water system, which use an average of 1,600 gallons per minute of make-up water. The make-up water requirements are to replace water lost to evaporation during the cooling cycle in the systems,” said Painter.

He said SeverCorr is in the process of contracting for two plants at the site.

“There are 23 overhead cranes in various areas of the plant, which vary in capacities from 20 tons to 450 tons. The cranes are actually part of the plant equipment and critical to the operation of the rest of the process equipment,” Painter said.

According to Painter, SeverCorr will consume approximately 1.7 million tons of scrap, direct reduced iron (DRI) and pig iron annually to produce 1.5 million tons of products.

The plant will have approximately 9 mi. of rail onsite to receive feed stocks for the plant and ship finished steel products.

Gov. Haley Barbour and other dignitaries attended a groundbreaking for the $880-million plant.

“This project is a great benefit to the taxpayers of Mississippi, the people of the Golden Triangle and SeverCorr. These are some of the highest paying, permanent jobs ever brought to the state,” Barbour said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.) CEG

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