Nucor to Start Construction of Metals Plant in La.

Fri February 04, 2011 - Southeast Edition
Alan Sayre - Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Nucor Corp. announced Jan. 27 that it will begin construction immediately on the first phase of a planned iron and steelmaking complex in southeastern Louisiana, one of the state’s largest new industrial projects in years.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company said it has obtained a key air quality permit from state environmental regulators and plans to begin construction on one iron-producing plant first before expanding to a second plant covered by the permit.

“We are very excited that we will be able to begin moving forward with the construction of this facility,’’ said Nucor Chief Executive Dan DiMicco.

The plant is part of what company officials say could eventually become a $3.4 billion complex employing up to 1,250 people. The first phase — costing $700 million — is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and Nucor said 150 permanent jobs will be created, averaging $75,000 annually.

The plant will employ technology that converts natural gas and iron ore pellets into iron used by Nucor’s steel mills. If the full project is ultimately built, executives said, it would eventually include a coke plant, blast furnace, pellet plant and steel mill.

Nucor did not offer a timetable for completion of the first plant, but company officials have said it would likely take about 24 months from the time permits were issued.

Nucor chose southeastern Louisiana’s St. James Parish last September after studying offers from several other states and Brazil.

Nucor said it has spent $50 million to buy 4,000 acres of property along the Mississippi River for the complex and plans to partially finance its project through $600 million in bonds from an economic recovery program for a region hit hard by hurricanes in 2005. The company also is receiving $30 million from the state’s construction budget.